Australia's Petroleum Reserves Increase

24 January 2002

Australia's commercial and non-commercial oil and gas reserves have continued to increase as a result of further discoveries and revision of oil and gas reserves, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources, Warren Entsch, announced today.

Oil and Gas Resources of Australia 2000, published today by Geoscience Australia, shows that reserves of crude oil and condensate currently amount to 3829 million barrels - an increase of 8.5 percent from 1998 despite sustained levels of production. This is due to increases in reserves of condensate in gas fields. Current gas reserves are shown to have increased in 2000 to 115 trillion cubic feet, 17 per cent over 1998 reserves.

Mr Entsch said that these significant increases in our commercial and non-commercial gas reserves are attributable to continuing large gas discoveries and revisions to the reserves of existing fields, particularly off north-west Australia.

"In addition, large gas discoveries made in 2000 and in the first nine months of 2001 will also significantly add to our gas reserves and provide further security for Australia's gas supplies," Mr Entsch said.

However, Mr Entsch sounded a note of caution.

"While there have been some large gas discoveries made, recent discoveries of oil are insufficient to maintain production in the medium term," he said.

"A reduction of nearly 50 percent in oil production is expected by 2010."

Also published today, Australia's Petroleum Exploration and Development Activity, 1 July to 30 September 2001, shows that the number of offshore exploration wells drilled in the first nine months of 2001 (39 wells) was in line with earlier industry forecasts of a probable level of 48 wells for the year. In the September quarter a further two gas discoveries were made - one at East Pilchard near the Kipper gas field in the Gippsland Basin of Victoria and a significant gas discovery at Blacktip in the southern part of the Bonaparte Basin which may prove to be a new gas province in that region.

"Despite the earlier forecasts of uncertainty in the industry there seems to be optimism that offshore exploration activity will be maintained at current levels throughout 2002," Mr Entsch said.

Oil and Gas Resources of Australia 2000 provides the most recent assessment of oil and gas reserves, estimates of future crude oil and condensate production, a new assessment of undiscovered resources, exploration activity, field developments, production and expenditure for petroleum in Australia. It lists petroleum pipelines, discoveries, producing platforms, both onshore and offshore fields and includes the Petroleum Exploration and Development Titles map as at April 2001 showing the current release areas for offshore petroleum exploration.

The Petroleum Exploration and Development Activity report is free of charge and is available from Geoscience Australia.

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