Australia is set to become the largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporter by 2018, according to HSBC, as more production comes online.
"The long-awaited export ramp-up is almost here," economists at the bank said in a report published Thursday, pointing to two major facilities due to go online shortly.
The Queensland Curtis LNG project (QCLNG) is set to commence production before year-end and the West coast's Gorgon plant will follow suit next year. Together, these projects boast a capacity of over 24 million tons per annum - the total amount Australia exported in 2012-13.
As a result, HSBC estimates total LNG export volumes to rise 70 percent in 2015-16, and by 42 percent a year, on average, over the next three years.
Five other projects are due to turn on the taps by 2018, which will see total Australian LNG capacity exceed 80 million tons per annum, beating Qatar's current 77 million tons. The Gulf nation is presently the world's biggest LNG exporter; Australia is the fourth largest.
Boost to growth
Increased LNG exports are expected to contribute around 0.7 percentage points to gross-domestic product (GDP) growth in each of the next three years and an average of 3 percentage points to export growth a year, HSBC notes.
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