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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2004  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/02/2004   
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Contents >> Energy >> Energy resources

Australia has large identified resources of fossil fuels and uranium. It is ranked in the top six countries in the world for economic demonstrated resources (EDR) of black and brown coal, and has the world's largest EDR of uranium. Australia also has significant reserves of natural gas and crude oil. For a more detailed outline on Australia's energy and mineral resources, see Mining.

Australia has substantial resources of high quality black coal. Most of these resources are located in New South Wales and Queensland. Small but locally important coal resources occur in Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania. Brown coal occurs mainly in Victoria with other known resources in Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania (Geoscience Australia 2002a).

Map 17.2 shows the extent of access to gas resources and major transmission pipelines in Australia. At June 2002, EDR of natural gas totalled 2,219 billion cubic metres, with the Carnarvon Basin accounting for over 50% of total reserves. The total length of Australia's transmission pipeline system has increased from 9,000 kilometres (km) in 1989 to over 20,000 km in 2001 (APIA 2001).

17.2 GAS RESOURCES - 2002

Map - 17.2 Gas resources - 2002

Source: The Australian Gas Association.


EDR of non-renewable energy assets were estimated at 1.9 million PJ in 2001 (table 17.3). Black coal accounted for 59%, followed by brown coal (19%) and uranium (16%). Australia has the world's largest resources of uranium in the low cost (EDR) category, with 29% of the world's total EDR (recoverable at <US$80/kg U). Other countries with significant EDR of uranium include: Kazakhstan (19%), Canada (14%), South Africa (10%), Brazil (7%), Namibia (6%), the Russian Federation (6%) and the United States of America (5%).

Changes in EDRs can be due to various factors, one of which is production activity. Others include discoveries and reclassification of resources due to reassessments (such as with black and brown coal in 1999, when some resources previously considered economic were reclassified as subeconomic).

17.3 ECONOMIC DEMONSTRATED RESOURCES OF PRIMARY ENERGY PRODUCTS(a)

1991
2001
Change
Fuel
'000 PJ
'000 PJ
%

Black coal
1,387.8
1,152.8
-16.9
Brown coal
404.5
365.7
-9.6
Crude oil
9.5
8.4
-11.6
Condensate
4.4
10.4
136.4
LPG
3.4
6.9
102.9
Natural gas
26.9
86.5
221.6
Uranium
222.8
307.4
38.0
Total
2,059.3
1,938.1
-5.9

(a) Non-renewable resources only.
Source: ABS data available on request, Australian System of National Accounts.

Table 17.4 shows the net present value (NPV) of demonstrated energy assets within Australia. The NPV is the expected value of the resource based on current market value, with some modifications based on depletion and economic forces. At June 2002 total subsoil assets had an NPV of $245b, of which 74% was attributed to the NPV of energy assets (over $181b). The two most significant energy assets were black coal and natural gas which accounted for 32% and 36%, respectively. The increase in the value of energy resources between 1992 and 2002 was primarily due to increases in the NPV of black coal and natural gas over this period - the NPV of black coal alone increased seventeen-fold.

17.4 NET PRESENT VALUE OF PRIMARY ENERGY PRODUCTS
30 June 1992
30 June 2002
Change
Fuel
$m
$m
%

Black coal
3,282
57,915
1,665
Brown coal
169
706
318
Crude oil
13,385
26,416
97
Condensate
2,575
20,511
696
LPG(a)
1,253
6,806
443
Natural gas
14,770
64,713
338
Uranium
2,187
4,237
94
Total
37,621
181,304
382

(a) Naturally occurring.
Source: ABS data available on request, Australian System of National Accounts.


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