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Gladstone’s LNG plants last month exceeded nameplate capacity for the first time since exports commenced in January 2015, according to figures from EnergyQuest.

November was generally a strong month for Australian LNG exports, with 6.9 million tonnes (Mt) shipped, the highest since April this year.

EnergyQuest chief executive officer Graeme Bethune said one of the reasons for the strong performance was record production from the east coast LNG projects at Gladstone.

They shipped 2.126Mt (32 cargoes) in November, eclipsing the record set in October of 2.050Mt.

Total Australian exports for the year to November are running 1.2Mt ahead of the same period last year and EnergyQuest expects that total exports for the year could reach a new record of 78Mt, up on the 77.5Mt exported in 2019.

The two biggest markets for Australian LNG are Japan and China, which both took 2.6Mt in November, higher than November 2019 in both cases. The third and fourth biggest markets were Korea and Taiwan.

While export volumes have done well during 2020, prices have been gutted.

Just eight months ago, total LNG export revenue was $4.4 billion. By September it was down to $1.8 billion.

The good news is that revenue is starting to recover with higher oil and LNG spot prices. EnergyQuest expects LNG export revenue may have reached $2.9 billion in November.

Mr Bethune said LNG spot prices had staged a remarkable recovery. As of 11 December, the Platts JKM for January was US$11.23/MMBtu, a more than 26-month high and higher than oil-linked prices, currently around US$5.36/MMBtu.

Gladstone Ports Corporation data shows the east coast projectsshipped 1.6Mt to Chinain November (1.2Mt in October), 0.23Mt to Korea (0.34Mt), 0.07Mt to Japan (0.13Mt) and 0.12Mt to Malaysia (0.19Mt).

Queensland imported gas from the other states in November, with flows in an easterly direction seen throughout the month, EnergyQuest said. Net gas flows to Queensland from other states were 3.7 PJ in November.