The first cargo of liquefied natural gas has sailed from the mammoth Australia Pacific LNG (APLNG) facility in Queensland, following a delay of at least two weeks with another carrier waiting to be loaded.
The startup of the APLNG project comes after a slight delay. APLNG had earlier announced that it expected the first cargo to be exported by the end of 2015.
The shipment, carried on the 935-foot tanker Methane Spirit and bound for customers in Asia, is among the first in a wave of liquefied natural gas projects that are coming online even as low oil prices have dragged down the value of natural gas on international markets.
APLNG facility takes natural gas from Eastern Australia, liquefies it and then ships it on specialized tankers.
Houston's ConocoPhillips and Australia's Origin Energy each own a 37.5 percent stake in the venture. China's Sinopec owns the remaining 25 percent and is its largest customer. Kansai Electric Power, a Japanese utility, also has signed contracts for some shipments.
ConocoPhillips said in a statement that an operational APLNG would allow it more financial flexibility moving forward. The independent oil and gas producer expects the project to be self-funding after the second train comes online later in 2016.
The APLNG facility is the third and largest facility on Australia's Curtis Island, following the Queensland Curtis LNG (QCLNG) and the Santos-operated Gladstone LNG projects which started operations in 2014 and 2015 respectively. QCLNG has already started the second train at its project and ramped production up to full capacity.