Australia’s own ‘peak oil’

Resources and energy minister Martin Ferguson has warned the country’s growing dependence on imported energy could reach critical proprtions, speaking at the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association conference in Perth.

“With only about a decade of known oil resources remaining at today’s production rates, Australia is looking down the barrel of a $25bn trade deficit in petroleum products by 2015,” Mr Ferguson said.

"… it is vitally important to encourage exploration in our frontier basins because they are the most likely places where a big new oil province may be discovered.

“Just as it is important for us to continue to examine alternative fuel industries, including the potential to convert some of our vast gas resources to synthetic fuels, like clean diesel.”

Mr Ferguson promised his department would undertake a "National Energy Security Assessment" that would include a future liquid fuel outlook.

“This assessment will provide the basis for a new Energy White Paper," Mr Ferguson said.

“While we are oil-challenged, Australia is a world-class gas province.

“We have been finding gas faster than we produce it for a quarter of a century and we have well over 110 years’ worth of remaining resources at today’s production rates.

To develop the country’s potential, government and industry would have to develop a close relationship. “This is an enormous challenge in an escalating cost and tightening investment and labour environment,” Mr Ferguson said.


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