SIX LIQUEFIED natural gas cargoes have departed from the Australia Pacific LNG since exports began in February, which project proponents say hail its arrival as the largest producer of natural gas in eastern Australia.

Australia Pacific LNG chairman Grant King said the project demonstrated what could be achieved when strong partnerships were formed between landholders, communities, business and governments.

“Australia Pacific LNG forms part of a burgeoning, long-term export industry for Queensland and Australia, with associated flow-on benefits from on-going employment and opportunities at regional, state and national levels,” Mr King said.

“Of course, Australia Pacific LNG would not have been possible without the skill and dedication of the project’s workforce, which included more than 15,000 people from regional Queensland and around the world during peak construction.”

Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said it was a great achievement to establish an export industry of this scale in such a short time frame.

“When all six LNG trains are up and running, they are expected to produce 25 million tonnes a year of LNG for export. Queensland will be the world’s fourth largest LNG exporter by 2018,” she said.

Ms Palaszczuk said the onshore gas industry’s direct contribution to Queensland’s economy in 2014-2015 was $10.6 billion or 3 per cent of Queensland’s gross state product.

“For key upstream economies, the industry’s direct spending totalled $1.5 billion with over 1,000 local businesses benefitting,” she said.

“The three CSG-LNG projects have also directly contributed an estimated $360 million to road infrastructure, and they have contributed almost $250 million towards local community infrastructure and services, such as hospitals, community centres and airport upgrades in the Surat basin.”

The Australia Pacific LNG project is a joint venture between Origin (37.5%) ConocoPhillips (37.5%) and Sinopec (25%).