Shale gas to rival CSG in Australia
CANBERRA -- Australia could reap a significant windfall from its shale oil and gas reserves, which could be as much as 10 times the existing known reserves, according to a U.S. government report.
The report, by the U.S. Department of Energy, found there were sufficient shale oil and shale gas reserves globally to fuel demand for several years, at least, on present estimates.
As much as one-third of all potential gas reserves globally could be recoverable from shale and around 10% of oil, the report argued.
For Australia, the prospect of significant oil to be tapped from shale reserves holds significant promise, amid dwindling domestic oil reserves, which has resulted in a surge in imports.
The study found Australia has an estimated 437 Tcf of recoverable shale gas reserves, ranking behind Mexico, but ahead of South Africa.
This is 10 times the existing identified natural gas reserves in Australia of 43 Tcf of gas.
Perhaps more importantly, the report put Australia's reserves of shale oil at significantly higher than existing oil reserves, at a time when Australia's oil imports continue to rise. It estimated shale oil reserves at 17,500 MMbbl, which is substantially higher than existing known reserves of 1433 MMbbl.
Australia's annual oil production is running at 192 MMbbl, according to the report.
Tapping Australia's reserves of coal seam gas (CSG) has resulted in the development of several gas export projects in Queensland, although the emergence more recently of shale gas in particular has cut off some of the growth options of these projects.
In this context, boosting reliance on oil produced from domestic shale reserves could have significant impact on the local economy, helping to boost Australia's energy security.
The report noted Australia could be an early developer of its potential shale reserves.
The actual level of economically recoverable shale oil and shale gas is likely to be smaller than the estimated recoverable reserves, since it depends on product prices and the cost of extraction and processing