Shale could double Australia's gas resource base

Australia could double its gas resources, thanks to its abundant shale gas resources, according to a government report released today. The country is the world's fourth largest exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and has a growing export industry, the report added.

Australia's gas resources, apart from shale gas have been pegged at 390 trillion cubic feet, ranking third behind coal and uranium as the country's largest energy resource, the report by Geoscience Australia and the Australian Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics said.

"While exploration for shale gas in Australia has only recently commenced and resources are poorly understood, shale gas could potentially double Australia's gas resources," resources minister Martin Ferguson said in a statement.

Ferguson said, the shale gas resources, located mostly in central Australia, are estimated at around 400 trillion cubic feet.

Australia would overtake Qatar as the world's top LNG exporter by the end of the decade with around $170 billion worth of projects under construction, according to analysts.

Ferguson added that the report reconfirmed Australia's capacity to continue to be a major gas exporter, supplying the world's growing demand for gas well into the future.