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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2003  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/01/2003   
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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.

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 (map 15.2). Brown coal occurs mainly in Victoria with other known resources in Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania (AGSO 2000a).

In 2001, Australia accounted for 6% of the world's recoverable EDR of black coal and ranked sixth after the United States of America (27%), Russia (19%), China (12%), India (9%) and South Africa (7%). Australia has about 20% of the world's recoverable brown coal EDR, second behind Germany (22%) (AGSO 2000a).

15.2 COAL RESOURCES - 2000
Map - 15.2 COAL RESOURCES - 2000
Source: LANDINFO.


Map 15.3 shows the extent of access to gas resources in Australia. Known natural gas reserves in Australia are less extensive than coal reserves, although it is expected that natural gas will increase its share of the domestic energy market in the short- to medium-term. The total length of Australia's transmission pipeline system has increased from 7,670 km a decade ago to over 15,600 km in 2001 (ANZMEC 2001). Since 1960, remaining gas reserves have increased more than eight times, mainly due to discoveries of major gas resources on the North West Shelf.

15.3 GAS RESOURCES - 2000
Map - 15.3  GAS RESOURCES - 2000
Source: The Australian Gas Association.


EDRs of non-renewable energy assets were estimated at 1.9 million PJ in 2001 (table 15.4). 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).


15.4 ECONOMIC DEMONSTRATED RESOURCES(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 energy assets
2,059.3
1,938.1
-5.9

(a) Non-renewable resources only.

Source: Australian National Accounts: National Balance Sheet (5241.0.40.001).


Table 15.5 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 mid 2001 total subsoil assets had an NPV of just under $173b, of which 70% was attributed to the NPV of energy assets (over $121b). The two most significant energy assets were black coal and natural gas which accounted for 33% and 28%, respectively. The increase in the value of energy resources between mid 1991 and mid 2001 was primarily due to increases in the NPV of black coal and natural gas over this period.


15.5 NET PRESENT VALUE OF ENERGY AND SUBSOIL ASSETS

30 June 1991
30 June 2001
Change
Fuel
$m
$m
%

Black coal
5,408
40,566
650.1
Brown coal
168
633
276.8
Crude oil
12,888
22,888
77.6
Condensate
2,395
14,139
490.4
LPG
1,713
5,725
234.2
Natural gas
14,036
33,555
139.1
Uranium
2,531
3,701
46.2
Total energy assets
39,139
121,207
209.6
Total subsoil assets
56,388
172,873
206.6

Source: Australian National Accounts: National Balance Sheet (5241.0.40.001).


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