The International Gas Union (IGU) released its nearly 130-page annual review of the global LNG industry this week. The report, and the record-shattering statistics within it, make two things undeniably clear: The global LNG industry is soaring, and Australian exports are a huge part of that success.
According to the report, 2018 marked the fifth consecutive year in which LNG trade volumes eclipsed those of the year prior, this time reaching 316.5 million tonnes, a 9.8% increase on 2017. Of this, the single largest increase in LNG exports comes from Australia, thanks to new trains coming on-stream and the improved utilisation of existing facilities.
“The vibrant LNG industry brings great benefits to society by improving energy security and offering opportunities to meet emissions targets, while facilitating access to energy in diverse markets around the world.” – Professor Joe M. Kang, President of the International Gas Union
Australian LNG helps fight greenhouse gas emissions in China
The report also highlights the “significant environmental advantages” of natural gas use in lieu of coal, a fact that is prompting more and more countries to enact policies that require it. This includes China, one of our largest export markets. From the review:
“The increase in LNG imports during 2018 was reflective of the continued enforcement of environmentally-driven policies mandating coal-to-gas switching in addition to sustained economic growth in the market.”
And while some in the environmental activist community may want you to believe there is no room for any fossil fuels in a carbon-constrained world, the fact of the matter is that natural gas is one of the world’s best, immediate options to lower greenhouse gas emissions, as noted in a separate report released by the International Energy Agency last week:
“Driven by economics and policies, coal-to-gas switching avoided almost 60 Mt of coal demand, with the transition to less carbon-intensive natural gas helping avert 95 Mt of CO2 emissions…This switch most significant in China and the United States, reduced emissions by 45 Mt and 40Mt, respectively.”
Australian LNG is a big part of how China was able to achieve that 45 Mt reduction. In fact, according to the IGU, “Australian production and Chinese demand,” has rendered the Pacific Basin the key corridor for LNG trade growth.
When it comes to LNG export, Australia is truly in a win-win situation, not only can we boost jobs here at home, but we can also play an out-sized role in helping the world’s largest carbon emitter curb its coal addiction.