Total Australian LNG shipments were higher in March at 5.4 million tonnes (Mt) (80 cargoes), compared to 5.1 Mt (77 cargoes) in February. APLNG shipped 3 fewer cargoes than in February and Gorgon shipped 1 fewer cargo while GLNG andQCLNG shipped 1 more cargo each. NWS shipped 5 more cargoes in March compared to February. Overall the outcome was up, with 3 more cargoes (+0.25 Mt) shipped compared to February.
We estimate that LNG export revenue increased in March to a record $3.1 billiondue to higher oil prices, with WA export revenue of $2.0 billion, Queensland revenue of $0.95 billion and Darwin revenue of $0.18 billion. Geopolitical tension in the Middle East have pushed up oil prices to $72.58 a barrel, as of 13 April, the highest closing level since late November 2014.
Prices in February for LNG spot cargoes for Japan fell from a more than three-year high in January. The average contract price for spot LNG cargoes for shipment to Japan was $10.60/MMBtu in February, down from $11.00 in January, which was the highest since December 2014, according to data from the Japanese Government (METI). The average price of spot LNG cargoes that arrived in Japan in February was $10.90/MMBtu (Reuters, 9 March).
North Asian LNG spot prices are continuing to fall. As of 30 March, the Sling North Asia index was US$7.05/MMBtu (A$9.17) for May deliveries. Spot prices for post- winter deliveries are likely to continue to be lower. However, average prices under thePlatts JKM forward curve from CME are US$7.91/MMBtu for 2018 and US$7.55/MMBtu for 2019, slightly higher than in February.
West coast LNG projects shipped 3.8 Mt in March (up from 3.5 Mt in February). Annualised this is 44.7 Mt, 98% of nameplate capacity of 45.6 Mt (excluding Wheatstone Train 2).
East coast LNG exports decreased slightly to 1.62 Mt in March, down from the 1.66 Mt seen in February. On an annualised basis east coast plants operated at 19.0 Mtpa in March, 75% of nameplate capacity of 25.3 Mt.
Queensland remains largely self-sufficient for gas. Net gas imports from other states were only 0.4% of LNG exports in March. Flows into Queensland in March were low but more consistently into Queensland compared to February. March net imports were 0.43 PJ, the same as in February. (This does not take account of production from the Queensland Cooper Basin processed at Moomba.)
CSG production was higher in March. Production from fields operated by the LNG producers was 112 PJ in March, up from 107 PJ in February (March being a longer month). Total LNG pipeline flows were 104 PJ in March compared with 95 PJ in February.
Queensland short-term domestic gas prices were below those in February, averaging $7.65/GJ at Wallumbilla ($8.49/GJ in February) and $7.16/GJ in Brisbane ($7.45/GJ).
Southern short-term domestic gas prices in March were also below February levels. Average prices in March were $8.89/GJ in Sydney ($9.56/GJ), $7.48/GJ inAdelaide ($9.59/GJ) and $8.68/GJ in Victoria ($9.36/GJ).
As at the end of March LNG netbacks were higher than east coast domestic short- term gas prices. Based on marginal costs and spot LNG prices of US$7.06MMBtu theWallumbilla netback was $6.21GJ at the end of February. Taking account of transport costs LNG netbacks were $6.89/GJ in Brisbane (end-month STTM $6.74/GJ), $8.28/GJ in Sydney ($7.50/GJ), $8.06/GJ in Adelaide ($7.48/GJ) and $8.66/GJ in Victoria ($7.24/GJ).