Australia's identified gas reserves is enough to power the country's needs for almost two centuries, Resources Minister Martin Ferguson said on Sunday.
India's Petronet LNG Ltd. is about to embark on a fund-raising campaign to gather funds that will support the expansion plans on its Dahej liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in the state of Gujarat.
He said that based on assessments, the gas reserves is about 390 trillion cubic feet or tenfold the size of the $43-billion Gorgon project that petroleum giant Chevron is developing.
At the current rate of usage, these gas reserves would last 184 years of gas production, Mr Ferguson estimated.
"Importantly, this report confirms Australia's capacity to continue to be a major gas export, supplying the world's growing demand for gas well into the future," Mr Ferguson was quoted by News.com.au.
The minister is expected to address the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) conference held in Adelaide on Monday.
He forecast that shale gas production could potentially double Australia's gas resources from the 20 million tones of liquefied natural gas (LNG) that the country exported in 2010-11. He said exports could grow by 19 per cent more in 2012-13 as the Pluto LNG project in Western Australia goes online.
Including other gas projects under construction, Mr Ferguson said LNG production capacity could quadruple by 2017 which would make Australia one of the world's largest LNG exporters.
In the past year, four Australian LNG projects worth $90 billion investments were approved, while seven more LNG projects valued at $170 billion are under construction.
A day ahead of the yearly conference, chief executives of large oil firms such as Shell, Chevron, ConocoPhillips and other gas firms warned Mr Ferguson of the industry's frustration with workplace relations law and green tape that make it difficult to secure environmental approvals.
A report by Deloitte Access Economics, commissioned by the APPEA, urged the federal government to help the industry see through different complex and long-term capital projects in a business environment characterised by strong growth and high costs. APPEA pointed out that Australia's attractiveness as a place to do business and billions of dollars and oil and gas industry investments are at risk due to complacency and political expediency.
"We need to be careful that we don't stifle the opportunities that are creating the benefits. And there's precious little evidence, if you look at the budget, of a commitment to economic reform which is actually going to expand the prosperity pie," The Australian quoted APPEA Chief Executive David Byers.
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