Australia's rising LNG exports are helping to offset the rapid deterioration in the country's balance of payments according to a new report by energy analyst, EnergyQuest.
Australia's total trade deficit across all goods and commodities in December last year was A$3.54 billion (seasonally adjusted) compared with only A$786 million a year earlier in December 2014.
However, an assessment of the latest Australian trade statistics by EnergyQuest reveals that in December, despite the 40% slump in global oil prices, the value of Australian LNG and other petroleum exports just about completely offset the huge cost of importing crude oil, petrol and other petroleum products, for the first time in more than five years.
"This good outcome reflects the growth in Australian LNG exports," Chief Executive Officer of EnergyQuest, Dr Graeme Bethune, said today.
"Australia's established LNG projects - Woodside's North West Shelf and Pluto and ConocoPhillips' Darwin LNG - have been performing exceptionally well. Now the three new Queensland projects have joined that total LNG production flow.
"Altogether, Australian LNG production reached a record 9.1 million tonnes in the December quarter 2015, up by 48% from a year earlier. Increased LNG production has offset the fall in LNG prices resulting from the slump in oil prices.
EnergyQuest estimates that increased LNG production improved Australia's overall trade balance by approximately $500 million in December.
"As LNG production continues to grow, petroleum is likely to make an increasingly positive contribution to the overall Australian trade balance."