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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2002  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 25/01/2002   
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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. However, 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 1999, Australia accounted for 6% of the world's recoverable EDR of black coal and ranked sixth after USA (28%), Russia (19%), China (12%), India (9%) and South Africa (7%). Australia has about 20% of the world's recoverable brown coal EDR, and ranks second behind Germany (22%) (AGSO 2000a).

15.2 AUSTRALIAN COAL RESOURCES


Source: LANDINFO 2000.


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 today (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 AUSTRALIAN GAS RESOURCES

Source: The Australian Gas Association 2000.


Economic demonstrated resources of non-renewable energy assets were estimated at 1.9 million PJ in 1998-99 (table 15.4). Black coal accounted for 63%, followed by brown coal (19%) and uranium (14%). As well as coal resources, Australia has the world's largest resources of uranium in the low cost (EDR) category, with 26% of total EDR. Other countries with significant EDR of uranium include: Kazakhstan (20%), Canada (15%), South Africa (10%), Namibia (7%), Brazil (7%), the Russian Federation (6%) and USA (5%).

Changes in economic demonstrated resources 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, where some resources previously considered economic were reclassified as subeconomic).


15.4 ECONOMIC DEMONSTRATED RESOURCES(a), Australia

1990-91
1994-95
1998-99
% change since 1990-91
Fuel
'000 PJ
'000 PJ
'000 PJ
%

Black coal
1,390.9
1,335.4
1,201.5
-13.6
Brown coal
404.5
399.8
365.7
-9.6
Crude oil and LNG
9.5
10.2
9.8
3.2
LPG
3.4
3.8
4.8
41.2
Natural gas
26.9
49.3
58.3
116.7
Uranium
222.8
295.6
268.4
20.5
Total energy assets
2,058.0
2,094.1
1,908.5
-7.3

(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. In 1999 total subsoil assets had an NPV of over $117b, of which 67% was attributed to the NPV of energy assets (over $78b). The two most significant energy assets were black coal and natural gas which accounted for 40% and 36%, respectively. The increase in the value of energy resources between 1990-91 and 1998-99 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 SUB-SOIL ASSETS, Australia

1990-91
1994-95
998-99
% change since 1990-91

Fuel

$m

$m

$m

%

Black coal
5,408
12,824
31,676
485.7
Brown coal
168
488
663
294.6
Crude oil and LNG
12,888
18,031
13,863
7.6
LPG
1,713
1,682
2,123
23.9
Natural gas
14,036
25,476
27,889
98.7
Uranium
2,531
1,535
2,128
-15.9
Total energy assets
36,744
60,036
78,342
113.2
Total subsoil assets
56,388
87,543
117,271
108.0

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


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