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Australia closing in on Qatar as world’s top LNG exporter

* Australia LNG exports tipped to rise to 74 mt in 2018-19

* Australia’s share of Japan, Korea LNG imports seen growing

* Iron ore price forecast raised to $64 for 2017

SYDNEY, Oct 6 (Reuters) – Australia expects to increase exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) by 16 percent from mid-2018 as $180 billion in new projects hit their stride, nearly catching up with Qatar, the world’s top supplier.

Rising LNG exports coupled with higher prices for steel-making commodities and thermal coal should see Australia’s overall resource and energy export earnings increase 2 percent in the year to end-June 2018, to a record A$211 billion ($165 billion), the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science said on Friday.

Australia’s LNG exports are forecast to climb to 74 million tonnes in the year to end-June 2019, from 63.8 million tonnes forecast for this year and 52 million tonnes last year.

By comparison, Qatar last year exported 77.6 million tonnes.

The rise in Australian exports will be underpinned by higher output at the Gorgon project, run by Chevron Corp, as well as the completion of three remaining LNG projects: Chevron’s Wheatstone, Inpex Corp’s Ichthys, and Royal Dutch Shell’s Prelude. FULL ARTICLE

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