Has Queensland helped Australia become one of the top three global LNG exporters?

By Louise Evans, James Lane and Tiffanie Turnbull

The Statement

“Ten years ago we (Queensland) were exporting zero energy and today we are one of the top three exporters in the world.”

Jackie Trad, Queensland Deputy Premier and Treasurer. June 18, 2019

The Analysis

Queensland Treasurer and deputy premier Jackie Trad claimed her state was an energy powerhouse and defended a new 25 per cent royalty hike on the ­liquefied natural gas sector. The increase, from 10 per cent to 12.5 per cent, was announced in June 2019 budget and is estimated to deliver $476 million in revenue by 2022-23. Ms Trad said the LNG industry had been created by the government and needed to pay back that investment after a year of record exports. [1] [2]

AAP FactCheck examined Ms Trad's claim that Queensland has helped Australia become one of the top three global LNG exporters.

A spokesperson for Ms Trad told AAP FactCheck Queensland’s LNG industry was a $15 billion export giant and that Australia, supported by Queensland’s increased investment and production, was now among the top three LNG energy exporters in the world.

According to the latest March 2019 statistics from the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, the world's top five LNG exporters for 2018 were Qatar (25 per cent), Australia (22 per cent), Malaysia (eight per cent), Nigeria (six per cent) and the United States (six per cent).

The government data shows Australia’s LNG exports increased by 22 per cent in 2018 to a record 70 million tonnes (mt). Queensland’s major LNG basins contributed 25.5 mt behind leading suppliers in Western Australia (49.7 mt), the Northern Territory contributed 12.6mt with the remainder coming from basins scattered around the rest of the country. [3]

According to financial data provider Refinitiv Eikon, Australia overtook Qatar as the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG) for the first time in November 2018, based on export figures for November. Australia loaded 6.5 million tonnes of LNG in November while Qatar exported over 6.2 million tonnes, the data showed. A Credit Suisse energy analyst predicted Australia’s number one position was not likely to be permanent with production rising in both Qatar and the US. In the long term, Australia was most likely to drop back to number three in the world. [4]

Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane said January 2019 LNG exports from the Queensland port of Gladstone ALONE hit a record in 2018, totalling 20.58 million tonnes (mt). The record annual growth was driven by demand from Asia with China the largest customer buying nearly 14.25 mt, followed by South Korea and Japan. [5]

Based on this evidence AAP FactCheck found Jackie Trad’s claim to be true.

The Verdict

  • True - The checkable claim is true.

The References

1: ‘Trad ‘incredibly worried’ she’d preside over dive into the red’, by Charlie Peel. The Australian. June 18, 2019: https://www.theaustralian.com.au/nation/politics/trad-incredibly-worried-shed-preside-over-dive-into-the-red/news-story/fb3fef904f1b73ee5974fbc6b15ee033

2. ‘Gas industry calls on Qld to delay new royalty regime’, by Mark Ludlow. Australian Financial Review. Jun 14, 2019: https://www.afr.com/business/energy/gas/gas-industry-calls-on-qld-to-delay-new-royalty-regime-20190614-p51xon

3. ‘Resources and Energy Quarterly’. Department of Industry, Innovation and Science. Australian Government. March 2019: https://publications.industry.gov.au/publications/resourcesandenergyquarterlymarch2019/infographics/REQ-Web-Infographics-March19-Gas-hr.png

4. ‘Australia grabs world's biggest LNG exporter crown from Qatar in Nov’, by Jessica Jaganathan. Reuters. December 10, 2018: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-australia-qatar-lng/australia-grabs-worlds-biggest-lng-exporter-crown-from-qatar-in-nov-idUSKBN1O907N

5. ‘Queensland LNG exports hit new high’. LNG World News. January 8, 2019: https://www.lngworldnews.com/queensland-lng-exports-hit-new-high/

  • First published June 18, 2019 18:10 AEST