Today Australia is the fourth largest exporter of liquified natural gas (LNG), but shale resources estimated at 400 trillion cubic feet could propel it to a global exporter, overtaking Qatar. Australia has enough gas reserves to power the country for the next 184 years at the current production rate, a government report said on Monday.
The study conducted by Geoscience Australia found that the country’s gas reserves ranked third behind its coal and uranium production. Its assessment also concluded major shale gas resources in Central Australia. These findings reassert Australia’s position as a major gas exporter over the coming years, considering the increasing worldwide demand for gas in the future.
Resources Minister Martin Ferguson said that shale gas exploration is in its early stages and not completely understood. However, shale gas has the potential to double up Australia’s gas reserves.
The Australian government also announced 27 new offshore petroleum acreages across nine basins, and according to Mr Ferguson, 40 more sedimentary basins are yet to be fully explored.
Gas exports are expected to grow by a further 19 % in 2012 as production from the Pluto LNG project goes online. By 2017, this number is expected to quadruple, making Australia the world’s biggest gas exporter.
Despite current economic uncertainty, Australia expects increased demands from Japan in the wake of the Fukushima disaster. Japan accounts for 70 % of Australian LNG exports. Furthermore, India’s demand for LNG is also expected to triple by 2015, while China’s demand grew by a third last year.