Australia overtakes Qatar as world’s top LNG exporter in November

Australia overtook Qatar as the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG) for the first time in November, according to fresh data from Refinitiv Eikon.

Australia shipped 6.5 million tonnes of LNG last month, edging out Qatar’s 6.2 million tonnes to finally displace the Middle Eastern nation as the world’s top LNG exporter.

Australia’s rise to the top of the LNG industry has been expected for some time after completing a string of large-scale projects, most recently the offshore Ichthys project by its Northern coast.

However, Australia’s position at the top may only be temporary as Qatar plans to boost its LNG capacity to 110 million tonnes a year by early 2024. It currently produces 77 million tonnes per year.

In addition, Wood Mackenzie analyst Nicholas Browne said the drop in Qatari LNG exports in November was due to maintenance, making Australia’s time at the top potentially even more short term.

“We are expecting this to be temporary and that Qatar will likely produce 6.5 million tonnes in December, meaning it will again be the largest exporter,” he said.