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Renewables add lustre to the gas sector and help offset coal bans

Business

The surge in renewable energy generation in Queensland is offsetting China’s ban on Australian coal and has given a boost to the LNG industries where east coast production hit a record in December, according to analyst EnergyQuest.

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In a result few would have predicted, EnergyQuest said one of the reasons for the increase in LNG production was the use of gas for electricity production had been falling.

“Use of gas for generation fell by 39 petajoules in 2020 compared with 2019,’’ EnergyQuest’s latest report card on the gas sector said.

“Replacing east coast gas with renewables to free up gas to export to China to replace coal is a win-win both environmentally and economically.’’

It said China took the bulk of gas shipments out of Gladstone in December

“The three Gladstone projects operated at record levels for the last three months of 2020, with two months greater than nameplate capacity.’’

Total LNG exports for 2020 were worth $36 billion, down from $48 billion in 2019.

The lower income was because of the lower pricing for gas, which is linked to oil prices.

But EnergyQuest said a return to average prices seen in 2019 would mean LNG export revenue could reach $50 billion.

“However, a return to warmer than average northern hemisphere winters could see a collapse in spot prices this time next year,’’ the report said.

East coast shipments increased to another record of 2.2 million tonnes in December with the bulk (1.4 million tonnes) going to China.

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