SYDNEY: Australia’s east coast LNG export hub Gladstone, shipped its second largest monthly volume in June, while China took the most it ever has from the port in a single month, data from Gladstone Ports Corporation showed Thursday. Total exports crept 1% higher month on month to 1.71 million mt in June, from 1.68 million mt in May, which made it the port’s second biggest month for LNG exports, beaten only by the all-time record of 1.75 million mt set in December, the data showed. Exports from six LNG trains are shipped out from Gladstone port. They are: the 9 million mt/year Australia Pacific LNG, the Santos-led 7.8 million mt/year Gladstone LNG, and the 8.5 million mt/year Queensland Curtis LNG, each with two trains. All six trains have been up and running since APLNG brought its second train online last October. And the June export figure is 14% stronger than June last year when 1.49 million mt of LNG was shipped.
The first LNG cargo set sail from Gladstone in January 2015 from QCLNG. Some 60% of Gladstone’s LNG exports, or 1.03 million mt, in June were sent to China — making it the largest China-bound volume in a single month from the port, the data showed. Exports to China in June were up 12% year on year from 922,754 mt and 11% from 928,170 mt in May, and is the fourth consecutive month China-bound exports from Gladstone have risen, the data showed. China has continued its drive to wean itself off coal to reduce air pollution this year — by ramping up consumption of pipeline gas and LNG imports.
Meanwhile, no LNG was shipped to Singapore from Gladstone in June, which is the first time that has happened since December 2015. In June last year, Gladstone exported 64,179 mt to Singapore and in May it shipped 126,247 mt, the data showed. South Korea, which is the second-largest recipient of Australian LNG shipped via Gladstone, was sent 361,685 mt in June, up by 220% from 113,046 mt in June last year, and up 51% from 240,306 mt in May, but still lagging the monthly average of around 500,000 mt in the first couple of months of 2017. Exports to Gladstone’s other regular destination Japan fell 3% year on year and month on month to 197,300 mt in June, while India-bound shipments fell 9% year on year and month on month to 54,249 mt. The June LNG exports from Gladstone round out the Australian 2016-2017 fiscal year (July-June) total for the port at 19.17 million mt, up from 12.02 million mt the previous year, according to the GPC figures.
Australia’s exports in 2017 have been boosted by fresh ramp-ups at projects such as Gorgon LNG, as well as increased demand from Northeast Asian end-users. Total exports from Australia in the first six months of the year have surged by 34% to 24.91 million mt, according to S&P Global Platts Analytics. Exports are expected to further surge 40% year on year to 70.91 million mt in 2018, as projects such as Wheatstone LNG and Prelude FLNG come on stream, according to Platts Analytics.