Australia is poised to become the world’s largest producer of liquefied natural gas (LNG) next year and to retain that position until 2024, when Qatar will reclaim the top spot.
That is the conclusion of new production forecasts by Rystad Energy, the independent energy research and consulting firm in Norway with offices across the globe.
“Australia has no intention of relinquishing its hard-earned LNG crown without a fight. Over the next two years, pending approvals on up to seven Australian integrated LNG projects could challenge Qatar as the country with the largest sanctioned LNG volumes from integrated projects during that period,” says Readul Islam, Research Analyst on Rystad Energy’s Upstream team.
These seven Australian LNG projects will collectively supply just over 30 million tonnes per annum (tpa) at full capacity, and will require a total expenditure of nearly US$31 billion from final investment decision to the first export of LNG.
“However, though sanctioned Australian LNG supply volumes could run neck and neck with Qatar over the next couple of years, Qatari LNG production should retake the top producer crown midway through the next decade,” Islam added.
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Following the 2017 lifting of Qatar’s North Field moratorium, Qatar Petroleum has revealed a plan for four additional production facilities (so-called LNG trains) to supply 33 million tpa of LNG. When these expansion trains reach plateau rates during the mid-2020s, Qatar will regain the top LNG producer crown that it will lose next year to Australia.
With Australia recently rolling off a glut of LNG mega-project construction, much of the near-term capacity additions are backfill projects intended to maximize capacity utilization at existing hubs. Indeed, most of the imminent LNG capacity additions that are expected in Australia won’t require the construction of additional trains – only the Scarborough development will require an expansion train at Woodside’s Pluto LNG project.
“The jostling for the top LNG producer crown probably is of cursory interest to oilfield service specialists. If we add proposed onshore LNG projects in Papua New Guinea to the tally from Australia, a $40 billion wave of LNG projects will wash over the region over the next couple of years. Service players won’t want to miss a slice of this world-class pie,” Islam said.
Research Analyst, Upstream
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Rystad Energy is an independent energy research and business intelligence company providing data, tools, analytics and consultancy services to the global energy industry. Our products and services cover energy fundamentals and the global and regional upstream, oilfield services and renewable energy industries, tailored to analysts, managers and executives alike. Rystad Energy’s headquarters are located in Oslo, Norway with offices in London, New York, Houston, Stavanger, Moscow, Rio de Janeiro, Singapore, Bangalore, Tokyo, Sydney and Dubai.