Australia's Oil & Gas industry: An overview
Australia's oil and gas industry remains a major contributor to its economy, with the country's coal and gas sectors playing a particularly important part.
Although the nation remains a net importer of oil, it is one of only three net hydrocarbon exporting nations in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and is a major supplier of coal and natural gas on both a domestic and international scale
According to KPMG, the oil, gas and energy industries are major contributors to the Australian economy, and comprise double the contribution of the forestry and fishing industries.
Recognising the potential of the industry, Australia has invested heavily in it in recent decades, and will continue to do so as the population increases and the demand for energy proliferates, though one asset for the country is its unexplored and unexploited oil and gas reserves.
As such, Australia is seen as having growth potential for expanding production and increasing exportation - something recognised by the increasing amount of interest from foreign investment lured in by the safety and stability of both the country's government and the oil and gas industry itself.
These factors have resulted in billions of dollars of investments in relatively short time frames, when some countries around the world have often had to wait years to attract similar levels of funding from international contributors.
Australia’s coal exports
By far the country's biggest strength remains its coal industry, where it remains the world’s biggest exporter, and Japan its biggest importer.
In terms of production, Australia is now the fourth largest producer of coal on the planet, expanding by more than a third over the last 20 years, with no danger of slowing down.
A key benefit for the country is the diversity of its coal reserves, with black deposits found in both Queensland and New South Wales and brown deposits found in South Australia, Western Australia, Victoria and Tasmania.
Conversely, oil production in the country has been gradually winding down, with mature oil fields steadily reaching exhaustion. Although the majority of exploration has taken place offshore, with many onshore reserves remaining unexplored, Australia remains a possible revenue and fuel source for the future.
Though there are question marks over the presence of hydrocarbons, which could potentially be used to sustain future growth, confirmed oil reserves are present off the coast of Western Australia, as well as Queensland, the Northern Territory, South Australia and Victoria.
APAC’s major producers of natural gas
Australia continues to excel in terms of production in the field of natural gas. It is the largest producer in the Asia-Pacific region and one of the most prolific in the world.
A positive development is that production is continuing to outlast consumption as new reserves are discovered and exploration commences in other areas, while Coal Seam Gas (CSG) remains a reliable and fruitful source.
One major consideration in terms of transportation and exportation is Australia’s location in relation to other nations, which makes it impossible for conventional gas pipelines to be used and instead necessitates liquid natural gas (LNG) transfers.
Australia is currently the fifth largest LNG exporter in the world, with Japan again as the primary importer, though fellow Asian nations China, South Korea and India are all key recipients,
The country spearheaded the world’s first coal seam gas-to-LNG projects in Queensland and was also the first nation to host a floating LNG project, which illustrated its commitment to new ventures throughout the industry.
Despite slowing oil production, Australia remains well placed to continue its production and exportation efforts in the fields of coal and gas in particular, with its stable political environment and attractive investment opportunities proving popular both domestically and on an international platform.