Major LNG supplier considers curbing exports
Australia, one of the world’s biggest suppliers of liquified natural gas (LNG), said on Monday it may curb exports to avoid a domestic shortage.
The announcement comes after the nation’s competition watchdog warned of a shortfall and soaring prices next year, and urged the government to make gas that hasn’t been sold under long-term contracts available domestically before it is exported.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said LNG exporters are likely to withdraw more gas from the domestic market than they plan to supply. A shortage equivalent to around 10% of demand is expected, according to Reuters.
Madeleine King, Australia’s Minister for Resources, said she would consult with LNG exporters and the country’s trading partners before making a decision in October.
Australia, along with the US and Qatar, is one of the largest LNG exporters in the world. The main buyers of Australian LNG are China, South Korea, and Japan.
A global gas supply crunch has worsened in recent months due to international sanctions against major supplier Russia. LNG is widely seen as a replacement for Russian pipeline gas, with buyers in Europe and Asia competing for shipments. This has sent LNG prices up, and spurred Australia's producers to export more than was contracted.
Australia has suffered an energy crisis in recent months due to outages at its coal-fired power plants and a cold snap during the current winter season in the southern hemisphere. The country managed to avoid blackouts in June after the energy market operator capped wholesale electricity prices and temporarily suspended the electricity spot market. Households in the country's most populous state, New South Wales, were urged to save power.
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