Australian coal seam gas production hits new high

The Stybarrow oil field.

BHP Billiton’s Stybarrow oil field

(Image courtesy of SAL)

Australia’s booming coal seam gas (CSG) sector has reported record production in the 2007-08 fiscal year, while petroleum trade deficit continued to soar.

According to the latest figures released by energy advisory firm EnergyQuest, CSG production jumped to132.9 petajoules in the year, up 39 per cent on the previous year.

CSG reserves also reported massive growth in Queensland and NSW. A year ago total proved and probable CSG reserves were 6,600 petajoules, about ten times annual east coast demand.

Reserves have since almost doubled to 12,400 petajoules.

“The development of Australia’s CSG reserves continues apace and demand remains very strong,” EnergyQuest CEO Graeme Bethune said.

“In less than five year, the east coast has gone from facing a looming gas shortage to having more than enough gas to meet local demand and export overseas.

“Queensland looks to set to join Western Australia and the Northern Territory as an important LNG exporter,” Dr Bethune said.

Meanwhile, Australian oil production continued to fall with a drop of 11.5 per cent for the year, despite the strong performance of BHP Billiton’s new Stybarrow oil field offshore Western Australia.

The report showed that oil production declined in all Australia’s major oil-producing basins, except the Cooper Basin recording a 14.2 per cent growth in production.

The waning oil production led to a fall in Australian petroleum production, down 1.9 per cent to 466.3 million barrels of oil equivalent for the year.

The petroleum trade deficit has also soared to an all-time high of $10.9 billion.

“Record high oil prices and falling production meant that Australia recorded a record petroleum trade deficit of almost $30 million a day in 2007-08.

“Despite high fuel prices, petroleum imports leapt 11.3 per cent. Australia imported 39 billion litres of crude oil, petrol, diesel and jet fuel in 2007-08," Dr Bethune said. 

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