Australian LNG Monthly Report – March 2024

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

All good for now on the east coast
ACCC says the (short-term) east coast outlook is for a surplus.

Southern states have a forecast shortfall of 25 PJ, while Queensland has surplus supply of 30 PJ, even if all LNG project uncontracted gas is exported. There is sufficient pipeline capacity to ensure southern state demand is met, and Iona storage levels are significantly higher than seen in the past five years. On that basis, the ACCC is confident that Australia’s gas market will likely have enough supply from July to September 2024.
EnergyQuest has been forecasting longer term annual shortfalls for some time and AEMO also points to significant annual shortfalls by 2028 as the Gippsland Basin declines, with peak demand shortfalls occurring sooner. The east coast is only 13 ACCC reports away from the forecast annual shortfall, and perhaps it is time to extend the outlook and broaden the analysis.

Santos follows the money
Santos has asked the Federal Court to subpoena four environment groups – to provide communications with the Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) to determine who funded the EDO’s failed court action to stop the Barossa LNG project. 

Santos’ legal representative told the court it would be seeking a third-party costs order against the EDO, and potentially also the four activist groups, and had found limited information so far on how the EDO funded the action. 

EnergyQuest notes that the four environment groups had a total revenue in 2022 of $78 million, according to reports filed with the Australian Charities and Not-for profits Commission. 

The Judge at the time of this report, has reserved her decision on the subpoenas.

Monthly statistical summary
In March, Australian LNG projects shipped 7.24 Mt (104 cargoes), slightly more than the 7.06 Mt (102 cargoes) shipped in February, which had only 29 days. 

EnergyQuest estimates that Australian LNG export revenue in March was $6.18 billion, less than the $6.30 billion in February, reflecting a 12% decrease compared to March 2023 when revenue was $7.03 billion.
Australia’s March 2024 shipments were 85.2 Mtpa on an annualised basis, compared to 81.06 Mtpa for the calendar year 2023 and compared to 88.6 Mtpa for February 2024, representing 96.2% of nameplate capacity.
In February 2024 (the latest statistics available), Australia provided 29% of China’s total LNG, 35% of Japan’s, 28% of Korea’s and 25% of Taiwan’s.

In March, Queensland continued to import gas from other states, as it has since September 2023, with the volumes in March totalling 2.4 PJ, lower than 3.1 PJ in February. CSG production from fields operated by the LNG producers totalled 127.6 PJ in March, which is a surplus of 1.7 PJ compared to exports.

Queensland’s short-term domestic gas prices in March were lower, averaging $11.64/GJ compared to $11.82/GJ in February. Most of the southern short-term domestic gas prices also decreased in March. Sydney averaged $11.82/GJ, compared to $12.03/GJ in February. Victoria averaged $11.23/GJ, down from $11.56/GJ in February.

East coast electricity demand increased by 10% in March 2024 compared to the same period a year earlier.
In March 2024, power generation from coal increased compared to March 2023, with a rise of 894 GWh (+9.4%) and increased by 282 GWh  (+3%) compared to February 2024.
Gas-fired power generation (GPG) was lower overall in the east coast electricity market, decreasing by -257 GWh (-28%) from a year earlier. Gas use for power generation was down by 2.0 PJ in March (-26%) compared with a year earlier.