Australian gas exports set to double, Asia to drive demand

Australia’s LNG exports will almost double from current levels to reach around 108 million tonnes by 2040, reinforcing the importance of continued investment in the sector. The forecast figures are contained in the recently released World Energy Outlook (WEO) report.

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matthew Canavan said gas was the fastest growing fossil fuel listed in the report’s New Policy Scenario (NPS), with global demand set to grow by 1.6 per cent every year, primarily driven by Chinese demand.

“By 2040, China’s gas demand is expected to triple to 710 billion cubic metres (around 26,500 PJ), making it the world’s largest gas-importing nation, putting it on track to surpass Japan as the world’s largest LNG importer by around the middle of the next decade.

“Alongside the WEO’s expected resurgence in demand for coal, these forecasts put Australia in the box seat when it comes to benefiting from global demand for gas. We are very well positioned to play a major role in meeting the increasing global demand for LNG – most of which will be in our region.

“The figures also reinforce the importance of ongoing investment in Australia’s LNG sector. We currently export around 58.5 million tonnes of gas, with that figure expected to almost double in the next 20 years or so.

“Around $200 billion has been in invested in LNG production in Australia over the last decade, and we are on the eve of opening INPEX’s onshore LNG processing facilities in Darwin which at peak production will produce and export around 8.9 million tonnes of LNG and around 1.65 million tonnes of LPG per year, for an expected 40 years.

“September’s Resources and Energy Quarterly only adds to the confidence in the sector, forecasting an increase in the value of Australia’s LNG exports from $31 billion last financial year to $48 billion in 2019–20, driven by higher export volumes and higher prices.

“An even more exciting prospect is the expectation that future gas supplies will increasingly come from unconventional sources, with global shale gas production set to increase by 28,700 PJ per year by 2040, making our Beetaloo Basin an enticing prospect for development as a new world-class shale gas province."

 Fast Facts

  • Emerging economies in Asia account for around half of total global gas demand growth, and their share of global LNG imports will double to 60 per cent by 2040
  • Growth in global gas trade (pipeline and LNG) comes mostly from LNG, with LNG’s share of trade increasing from 42 per cent to almost 60 per cent by 2040 

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