Australian LNG exports drop in January

Australian LNG exports dropped in January when compared to the month before due to short-term outages and repair work at three liquefaction plants, according to EnergyQuest.

Australia shipped 96 LNG cargoes in January or about 6.57 million mt, compared to 105 in December, with short-term outages at the Woodside-operated North West Shelf project and Chevron’s Wheatstone LNG plant and repair work at Gorgon LNG, the consultancy said.

EnergyQuest said last month that Australian LNG exports had reached a new record high in 2021, boosted by more shipments to China, South Korea, and Taiwan.

The consultancy said the cargoes delivered in January went to “all the usual countries in Asia.” This includes Japan, China, South Korea, and Taiwan.

According to EnergyQuest, there was no sign of any Australian cargoes heading to Europe.

“Although European prices were occasionally higher than Asian prices, the difference was not enough to make the longer trip worthwhile,” it said.

Cargoes heading to Asia though were “enormously profitable”, even those sold on oil-linked prices, it said.

This has already been apparent in the fourth-quarter reports from Origin Energy, Santos and Woodside, with average realized LNG prices of $11.80/MMBtu, $13.64/MMBtu and $16.00/MMBtu respectively, depending on their exposure to spot sales.

“At these prices individual cargoes were worth $42-56 million each. The good fortune continued into January, with oil prices continuing to increase and high spot prices being maintained,” EnergyQuest said.

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