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How The World’s Top LNG Exporter Could Lose Its Crown

LNG

Australia became the world’s leading exporter of LNG last year. Now, there are claims coming from the industry itself that Australia could lose its LNG superpower status or far worse. It’s a curious claim after shipping an astounding 82 million tonnes of LNG valued at $63 billion last year. That was a world record (the U.S. exported just over 79 million tonnes and Qatar exported just over 81 million tonnes). 

When the claim comes directly from the operator of Australia’s Darwin-based Ichthys LNG project and one of Australian LNG’s biggest investors, it’s worth paying attention. The Ichthys LNG project is operated by Japan’s INPEX, and its CEO, Takayuki Ueda has recently warned that increasing government regulation, including the possibility of gas intended for LNG projects being diverted into the domestic market, is threatening the country’s newfound LNG superpower status. Lately, the Australian government has been intervening more aggressively in local gas markets. (Last year, following the east coast energy crisis, the federal government toughened the Australian Domestic Gas Security Mechanism (ADGSM), which gives it more power to limit LNG exports.)

Although the federal government has rushed to reassure customers that it remains a willing and reliable supplier of the super-chilled gas, a deeper dive into the state of Australia’s gas sector reveals that Ueda’s concerns are not as wild or far-fetched as they first sound. (And notably, Beijing agrees with Ueda,…





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