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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. For a more detailed outline on Australia's energy and mineral resources, see Mining.
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).
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.