Exploration boost needed to meet future production

October 19th, 2016

Two sets of data from the country’s industry economist confirms the important role of natural gas in Australia’s energy mix – while at the same time starkly underlining the need to unlock new development.

In its 2016 Australian Energy Statistics publication (which covers data from 2014-15), the Department of Industry’s Office of the Chief Economist found that:

  • Natural gas production rose by 5 per cent in 2014–15 to 2,607 petajoules (66 billion cubic metres);
  • Western Australia remained Australia’s largest producer of natural gas, producing nearly two-thirds of total gas production in 2014–15;
  • Queensland production grew 45 per cent to become Australia’s second largest producer, overtaking Victoria, where production fell by 11 per cent;
  • Production of coal seam gas increased by 50 per cent in 2014–15, to reach 462 petajoules (12 billion cubic metres), as new wells were drilled in Queensland to support the start of LNG exports from Gladstone;
  • Coal seam gas accounted for 18 per cent of Australian gas production on an energy content basis, and nearly half of east coast gas production;
  • Natural gas accounted for 24 per cent of energy consumption in 2014–15. Gas consumption rose by 1 per cent in that year, supported by increased gas-fired electricity generation in Queensland;
  • Energy exports grew by 5 per cent in 2014–15 to 13,088 petajoules. Black coal and liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports rose as additional capacity came on line.

But while the data shows some positive signs for the industry, there’s another set of numbers from the Chief Economist that highlights the need for sensible and rational policy settings to encourage investment in exploration and development.

The latest Resources and Energy Quarterly shows petroleum exploration at its lowest level in more than ten years.

As APPEA Chief Executive Malcolm Roberts said:

“Today’s exploration is tomorrow’s production. Companies prepared to invest heavily in exploration should be allowed to get on with the job under proper regulatory oversight.”


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