AUSTRALIA’S LNG exports are forecast to grow 22.6% in the current 2017-2018 financial year (FY18) after a robust performance in the 12 months to June 30 this year.

In its just released monthly LNG report for June, respected independent energy consultancy, EnergyQuest, said Australia broke the 50 million tonnes (Mt) barrier for the first time in the full 2016-2017 financial year (FY17), exporting a total of 51.4 Mt of LNG.

EnergyQuest expects this  volume  to be outperformed in the current new financial year, growing to 63 Mt by June 30 next year – just below forecasts of 63.8 Mt by the Office of Chief Economist.

The latest yearly export performance is more than 37% stronger than the FY16 total of 37.5 Mt exported.

EnergyQuest estimates the sales value of the FY17 LNG exports at $22.3 billion compared to $16.6 billion for the previous year.

The June report found that Australia continues to more than hold its own in key North Asian markets against Qatar, the world’s largest LNG exporter, and rapidly rising exports from the United States.

“Over FY17, production increased from almost every Australian LNG project and both Western Australia and Queensland boosted their State outputs to higher levels,” EnergyQuest CEO, Dr Graeme Bethune, said today.

“The exceptions were Darwin LNG (down 0.9Mt) and QCLNG (down 0.7Mt) compared to their previous 12 months performance,” Dr Bethune said.

“With rising Australian LNG export volumes, we are seeing the sector’s total export revenue increasing quickly, including record monthly levels towards year’s close.”

In June, the Pluto, Darwin and APLNG plants all produced at above nameplate capacity. APLNG produced at 110% of nameplate.

EnergyQuest noted the national LNG export output would rise further over coming months with Gorgon shipments out of Western Australia now accelerating, WA’s Wheatstone plant to commence LNG production next month with first exports in September this year, and Darwin’s Ichthys project due to commence production in 2018.

On the international sales front, Japan, China and Korea continue to be the dominant destinations for Australian exports, comprising 91% of deliveries in June. Australia continues to be the largest LNG supplier to Japan and China and the second-largest to Korea after Qatar.

For May, Australia supplied 44% of Chinese LNG imports, 31% of Japanese imports and 21% of Korean imports.