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Australia's Gladstone LNG exports set record high in 2021 despite December drop


Total December exports at five-month low of 1.88 mil mt

Exports to China in 2021 up 3% on year at 15.45 mil mt

  • Author
  • Nathan Richardson
  • Editor
  • Kshitiz Goliya
  • Commodity
  • LNG Natural Gas

Australia's Gladstone Port on the east coast finished 2021 by exporting a five-month low of 1.88 million mt of LNG in December, while volumes for the full year hit a record high of 23.28 million mt, data from the Gladstone Ports Corporation showed Dec. 7.

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The December volume was down 14% year on year, and 12% month on month. The fall comes comes after four consecutive months of increases, which culminated in an 11-month high of 2.14 million mt in November, the data showed.

Despite the weaker volumes from the facilities at Gladstone Port in the Australian state of Queensland in December, the 2021 total was up 4% over the previous record high of 22.37 million mt set in 2020.

The 2021 total saw the sixth consecutive year of continuous increases in LNG exports from Gladstone -- which began operations in 2015.

The port has three LNG export projects, which include the 9 million mt/year nameplate capacity Origin-ConocoPhillips-Sinopec Australia Pacific LNG, the 7.8 million mt/year nameplate Santos-led Gladstone LNG, and Shell's 8.5 million mt/year Queensland Curtis LNG.

Each facility has two trains. The first to come online was train 1 of QCLNG, which began exporting in January 2015.

Despite the record yearly high set in 2021, there remains ample latent LNG export capacity at Gladstone, with the three terminals having a combined nameplate capacity of 25.3 million mt -- about 9% higher than the actual export volume.

The fall in exports in December came as volumes bound for China and Japan fell.

China -- which is by far the largest recipient of LNG from Gladstone -- was sent a three-month low of 1.19 million mt in December, which is down 15% year on year and 23% weaker month on month, according to the GPC figures.

Exports to Japan hit a four-month low of 119,509 mt, having dropped 63% year on year and 14% month on month, the data said.

Volumes to South Korea were at a three-month low of 285,975 mt, which was up 2% year on year and down 14% month on month.

Total exports of Gladstone LNG to China in 2021 bounced back by 3% year on year in 2021 to 15.45 million mt after dipping in 2019.

Total 2021 LNG exports from the port to South Korea and Singapore each saw firm year-on-year gains.

South Korea's total for the year was 3.64 million mt, up 11% year on year. Volumes to Singapore for 2021 were up 75% year on year at 838,309 mt.

Gladstone's 2021 exports to Japan and Malaysia were each down year on year. Japan imported 1.42 million mt, down 6%, and Malaysia 1.86 million mt, down 7%.