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EnergyQuest: coronavirus causing LNG uncertainty

Australia’s LNG exports are yet to be affected by the coronavirus but customers in Asia could still restrict intake, according to research from EnergyQuest.

The energy analyst said Australian projects exported 7 million t of LNG through 103 cargoes in January 2020, 45 of which were delivered to Japan.

China received 40 LNG cargoes from Australia in January, up from 38 in December 2019, while 14 deliveries were made to Korea.

While EnergyQuest said the coronavirus was yet to impact the flood LNG being exported from Australia, the potential for China to reduce its intake was a legitimate possibility, with companies like PetroChina and Sinopec considering restrictions.

“At the Australian end, health screening on ship crews arriving from China has been upgraded but the Australian Government has apparently said that no restrictions will come in the way of regular operations of LNG ships loading cargoes,” said EnergyQuest.

“This is a rapidly evolving situation but one which could have national economic impacts.

“Also, for the east coast gas market, if cargoes are delayed and significant gas volumes have to be diverted to the domestic market.

“It is unclear how much the intake would be reduced, and the timing.”

EnergyQuest said Australia’s east coast projects were most exposed if China reduced intake, with Australia Pacific LNG and Queensland Curtis LNG delivering 85 per cent and 67 per cent of their cargoes to that location respectively.

Overall, the bulk of Australia’s LNG exports in January came from the country’s west coast, with the region accounting for 5.1 million t, or 74 cargoes, of the monthly total.

Short-term domestic gas prices at the Wallumbilla hub in Queensland averaged $5.82/GJ, down from $7.06/GJ in December, while Sydney and Melbourne’s short-term prices also came down from the previous month to hit $6.44/GJ and $6.35/GJ respectively.

For more information visit the EnergyQuest website.

If you have news you would like featured in The Australian Pipeliner contact Managing Editor David Convery at dconvery@gs-press.com.au

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