The Beetaloo Sub-basin in the Northern Territory is a world-class shale gas resource and is home to over three-quarters of the Northern Territory’s prospective shale gas resources, according to Geoscience Australia.29 Recent estimates from companies exploring the area suggest that the shale gas resources could be even larger than first thought. While the scale of the gas resources in the Beetaloo Sub-basin is vast, exploration is only just getting underway. It remains uncertain what proportion of the resource will be technologically and economically viable to extract.
The Canning Basin in Western Australia has significant potential for new gas and oil discoveries. The Canning Basin is home to 90 per cent of Australia’s prospective shale gas, 40 per cent of prospective tight gas and over 80 per cent of prospective shale oil. Despite an upswing in exploration since 2010, the Canning Basin is still considered under-explored. Future large-scale resources developments in the basin are likely to be centred on unconventional shale and tight gas resources. However, this basin will require infrastructure development to get resources to market.
The Browse Basin on Australia’s offshore North West Shelf is one of the richest hydrocarbon bearing basins in Australia. The Ichthys LNG Project commenced production in 2018 and is expected to produce 8.9 million tonnes of LNG and 1.6 million tonnes of Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) per annum, along with more than 100,000 barrels of condensate per day at peak production. The Prelude floating LNG project also commenced production in 2018 and is expected to deliver 3.6 million tonnes of LNG, 1.3 million tonnes of condensate and 0.4 million tonnes of LPG per annum. Active exploration and development continues in the basin, with recent discoveries of several large gas and condensate deposits. This highly prospective basin has the potential to support multiple development options, including industry collaboration for brownfield expansion and backfill of LNG projects. With about 15 percent of Australia’s 2P gas reserves and 33 percent of Australia’s oil and LNG 2P reserves, the development of the Browse Basin will be critical for Australia to maintain its leading position in the LNG market and meeting its energy security needs.
It is estimated that the Galilee Basin has around 29 billion tonnes of coal resources, and is comparable to the size of other major coal basins in Australia, such as the Sydney Basin, the Bowen Basin and the Surat Basin. However, the main barrier to the development of the significant resources in the Galilee Basin is the relative remoteness and absence of a multi-user railway line to connect to one or more coal export ports.
There are currently nine projects proposed for the Galilee Basin at various stages of development, ranging from shovel-ready to pre-approval. These projects have the potential to generate substantial increases in investment, export volumes and thousands of jobs during construction and operation.30
- 29 Unconventional gas occurs in deposits such as coal beds (coal seam gas), or in shales (shale gas), low quality reservoirs (tight gas), or as gas hydrates.
- 30 Department of State Development (2018) Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning (2018) Current and Completed Projects. Queensland Government, Brisbane.