A look at Western Australia
Despite significant drops in the prices for petroleum products in 2015-16, liquefied natural gas (LNG) remained a significant industry for Western Australia, with sales of $10.7 billion over the financial year. This made it the most valuable petroleum product in Western Australia, representing 61 per cent of all petroleum sales.
LNG sales volumes increased slightly in 2015-16 to nearly 21 billion tonnes. This total is expected to continue to grow as Chevron’s Gorgon project ramps up following its first production in 2016, and the Wheatstone project comes on-line in 2017.
LNG is a natural gas that is converted into a liquid by cooling. Odourless and colourless, LNG is predominantly used for residential, industrial and commercial heating, and vehicle fuel.
Across the globe
Qatar is the current global export leader in LNG, with 77.6 million tonnes (31 per cent of global exports) exported in 2015, as compared with Australia’s 29 million tonnes (12 per cent) and Nigeria’s 20.1 million tonnes (8 per cent). Australia’s LNG industry is growing fast, however – in 2015-16, Australia’s LNG exports increased by nearly 12 million tonnes, largely as a result of massive expansion in the east coast. In fact, Western Australia accounted for just 56 per cent of Australia’s LNG output in 2015-16, down from 80 percent in 2014-15 on the back of these expansions. But the Gorgon and Wheatstone projects alone are expected to add nearly 25 million tonnes to WA’s LNG export capacity, part of a broad based growth in the industry expected to bring Australia’s total capacity to 85 million tonnes by 2018.