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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.
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).
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