North West Shelf LNG Terminal

From Global Energy Monitor
This article is part of the Global Fossil Infrastructure Tracker, a project of Global Energy Monitor.

North West Shelf LNG Terminal is an LNG export terminal in Western Australia, Australia.


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Project Details

  • Owner: BHP Billiton, BP, Chevron, Japan Australia LNG, Shell, Woodside
  • Location: Perth, Burrup Peninsula, Western Australia, Australia
  • Coordinates: -20.59424, 116.7767 (exact)
  • Capacity: 16.3 mtpa, 2.34 bcfd
  • Status: Operating
  • Type: Export
  • Trains: 5
  • Start Year: 1989

Note: mtpa = million tonnes per year; bcfd = billion cubic feet per day


North West Shelf LNG Terminal is an LNG export terminal in Western Australia, Australia.[1]

According to the company website in 1989 the first cargo of North West Shelf LNG left the facility's Karratha Gas Plant onboard headed to Japan’s Sodegaura Terminal. The North West Shelf LNG Project has delivered almost 4000 LNG cargoes since 1989.[2]

In 2017 Woodside, Australia's biggest oil and gas company, developed plans to connect their smaller Pluto LNG Terminal with their North West Shelf LNG Terminal on the Burrup Peninsula.[3]

North West Shelf LNG exports to Asia. Reuters reported in 2017 that the facility exports about 16.3 million tons a year.[4]

As of 2017, Australia is the second largest LNG exporter after Qatar. The country exports almost 44 million tons a year. [5]

In 2017 it was discovered that the petroleum resource rent tax had failed to collect billions of dollars in revenue north-west Australia.[6]

There have been plans to extend North West Shelf LNG to serve the domestic market as well as export. In 2017 Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce supported the construction of a new pipeline linking West Australia’s gas fields to the strained markets of the east coast. He proposed North West Shelf LNG to be shipped to Melbourne where it could feed through an import terminal.[7]

Woodside and ConocoPhillips, operators of Australia’s two oldest LNG plants, Darwin LNG Terminal and North West Shelf LNG are considering cheaper development options for their Browse and Barossa gas fields to compete against Qatar. Qatar added to the fears of Australia’s LNG owners in July 2017 when it announced a 23 million ton-a-year increase in gas exports.[8]

The Woodside chief executive has made clear his preferred feedstock option for the North West Shelf LNG would be from the 30.6 per cent Woodside-owned Browse gas field.[8]

In June 2020, Chevron announced that it was selling its 16.7% stake in the project after initial discussions with potential bidders. The company also said that it remains committed to its Gorgon LNG Terminal and Wheatstone LNG Terminal projects, also in Western Australia.[9] Quoting Wood Mackenzie estimates, Australian gas analyst Peter Milne believes that Chevron may struggle to find a buyer for its stake in an ageing terminal which requires a life-extending refurbishment at a cost of up to US$12 billion.[10] As of April 2021, Chevron had not succeeded in selling its North West Shelf stake and the company's Australian business had slumped to a US$1.8bn annual loss amid plunging oil and gas prices and repairs to its Gorgon LNG project.[11] It remains to be seen who will end up owning the 16.7% piece of ownership.

Articles and resources


  1. North West Shelf LNG Terminal, A Barrel Full, accessed April 2017
  2. North West Shelf Gas, Australia LNG, accessed July 2017
  3. Matt Chambers,"Woodside plans for growth phase ahead," The Australian, May 24, 2017.
  4. "UPDATE 1-Australia's North West Shelf LNG facility hit by Karratha plant outage," Reuters, June 28, 2017.
  5. Diane Munro, [ "Qatar Moves to Ensure LNG Dominance ,"] Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington, April 17, 2017.
  6. Gareth Hutchens,"Australia must charge royalties on natural gas or lose billions, says expert," The Guardian, February 8, 2017.
  7. Sarah Martin,"Joyce backs gas pipeline from WA to east coast," The West Australian, September 22, 2017.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Peter Milne "Woodside’s Browse plant and ConocoPhillips to take on Qatar," The West Australian, Jul. 13, 2017
  9. Solani Paul "Chevron puts stake in Australia's North West Shelf LNG on the block," Reuters, Jun. 18, 2020.
  10. Peter Milne, "Eight huge risks Chevron’s North West Shelf sales pitch missed," Boiling Cold, Aug. 31, 2020
  11. "Plunging prices and LNG repairs trigger Chevron's $2.3 billion loss in Australia," The Australian, Apr. 5, 2021

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