LNG exports of Australia dropped by 12 per cent
Australia's Department of Industry, Science, Energy, and Resources announced that the country's LNG shipments fell by 12% year-on-year and noted the pressure in recent months on the country's LNG export volumes.
In Australia, the LNG investment surge saw over $200 billion invested in seven new LNG projects, all of which started to run between 2014 and 2019. The ramp-up of these projects saw the annual potential of Australia's LNG nameplate hit 88 million tonnes.The report stated, however, that Australia's LNG shipments were 12 per cent lower year-on-year between June and August.
As a result , the average capacity utilisation rate in Australia is projected to decrease marginally in 2020. Some buyers have exercised their rights to reduce contract purchases by about 10% in 2020, according to the study, with some of these being replaced by cheaper spot freight.
Cargoes have also been delayed, some plants have undergone lengthy maintenance and technical difficulties have been experienced by two LNG plants.
More specifically, due to a problem, the Prelude FLNG plant, which shipped its first freight in June 2019 but had not yet reached its full nameplate capacity of 3.6 mtpa, has been temporarily shut down since February 2020.
Shell indicated that the process for restarting operations had begun, but did not reveal an official date for restarting development.
The development of Gorgon was also interrupted, with the shutdown of Train 2 extended to October, following the discovery of cracks in its heat exchangers.
LNG exports from Australia are expected to decrease from 79 million tonnes in 2019-2020 to 76 million tonnes in 2020-21, reflecting both the effects of COVID-19 on demand and the technical problems described above.
In Australia, LNG export earnings are expected to fall sharply, from $48 billion in 2019-20 to $31 billion in 2020-21. The decline in export earnings is projected to be mainly driven by weak agreements and spot prices and, to a lesser degree, by lower volumes of shipments.
In 2021-22, export earnings are estimated to recover partially to $37 billion, tracking an expected rise in contract and spot prices.
From the June 2020 Resources and Energy Quarterly, the estimate for Australian LNG export earnings in 2020–21 has been revised down by $3.7 billion.
Maritime Business World