Australian LNG Monthly Report – April 2024

Information about the EnergyQuest Australian LNG Monthly is available by clicking here.

Support for new gas, as long it is next to existing gas – the Future Gas Strategy
The Australian Government’s Future Gas Strategy was released this month.  The Strategy sets out a medium- and long-term strategy for gas in Australia and, perhaps unsurprisingly given the mixed views within Labor on gas , is itself a mixed bag with some discordant notes. 

The Strategy states that future offshore acreage releases will focus on optimising existing discoveries and infrastructure. This approach would suggest the overall aim is to run down the resources we have, and avoid any contentious new areas which may have environmental activist risk (Browse?).
The rest of the actions for the most part cover already announced initiatives. The Safeguard Mechanism and sectoral decarbonisation plans are mentioned, as is energy price relief, the review of consultation requirements for offshore activities, and offshore greenhouse gas storage acreage release and approvals. 

The Strategy is light on the details of how its ambitions will be achieved, and there are more related strategies that are yet to be released. 

When all is said and done, the release of the Strategy is an achievement for Minister King who has shepherded a policy supporting gas through a party that is under increasing pressure from the Greens and facing the potential of minority government after the next election. 

Is Australia paying a lot for gas?
The latest Wholesale Gas Price Survey has been published by the International Gas Union (IGU). In 2019, five of the six highest price countries were in Asia, but in 2023, the top five highest price countries were in Europe.

The Australian wholesale gas price is also higher in 2023 than it was in 2019, but Australia has relatively cheaper gas when compared to other countries on the list, with a wholesale gas around US$7.50/MMBtu (A$10.77/GJ).

Monthly statistical summary
In April, Australian LNG projects shipped 6.82 Mt (98 cargoes), lower than the 7.24 Mt (104 cargoes) shipped in March, which had one additional day of production. 

EnergyQuest estimates that Australian LNG export revenue in April was $5.56 billion, less than the $6.14 billion in March, reflecting a 6% decrease compared to April 2023 when revenue was $5.92 billion. 

Australia’s April 2024 shipments were 83.0 Mtpa on an annualised basis, compared to 81.1 Mtpa for the calendar year 2023 and 85.2 Mtpa for March 2024, representing 93.7% of nameplate capacity. 
In April, Queensland switched from being a net importer of gas to being a net exporter of gas to the southern states. Queensland exported 2.4 PJ in April compared to importing 2.38 PJ in March. 

East coast electricity demand increased by 1% in April compared to the same period a year earlier. 

Gas-fired power generation (GPG) was lower overall, decreasing by -140 GWh (-16%) from a year earlier. GPG was down in NSW by -69%, also down in Victoria by -45%, down in Tasmania by -74%, but was up in Queensland by 8% and up in South Australia by 6%. Gas’ overall share of the power generation market decreased to 4.4% compared to 5.3% a year earlier. Gas had a 5.8% share in Queensland and 30.7% share in South Australia. Gas use for power generation was down by 1.2 PJ in April (-15%) compared with a year earlier.