First cargo ships from Australia Pacific LNG project

The first cargo of LNG has departed from the Australia Pacific LNG (APLNG) facility on Curtis Island in Queensland, the project’s partners reported.

Construction of the $24.7-billion (Aus.) Origin Energy Ltd.-led APLNG project began in 2011 and consists of two 4.5 million-tonne/year capacity production units.

The cargo was shipped on the Methane Spirit carrier, which left Gladstone harbor last week. It is just a year since the BG Group shipped its first cargo from an adjacent plant on the island.

At the peak of its construction, the APLNG project created 15,000 jobs and is the third coal seam gas-LNG project completed in Queensland in the last year. BG’s plant (QCLNG) has two trains in production, while Santos Group (GLNG) has one train and Origin’s APLNG one train in production. Both GLNG and APLNG are scheduled to begin production from second trains this year.

Origin has said APLNG needs oil prices of $38-42/bbl before it yields distributions above operating and financing costs. Brent oil prices closed at $33.55/bbl on Jan. 8.

In December 2015, Origin attempted to insulate itself from plunging oil prices by hedging some of APLNG’s output at $40/bbl. It also sold forward some cargoes at a fixed price to an undisclosed buyer.

On a broader front, Australia shipped 25 million tonnes of LNG in 2014-15 earning $16.9 billion (Aus.) in export revenue.

By 2019-20 when all seven LNG projects developed in recent years—QCLNG, GLNG, APLNG, Gorgon-Jansz, Wheatstone, Ichthys, and Prelude—are fully operational, there will be a projected combined Australian export volume of about 76 million tpy.

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