Sustainable rates of resource extraction: The case of Australian natural gas

David J. Brennan

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Australian government reports have projected more than a doubling of Australian natural gas production from 2013 to 2018. This projected increase applies to Australia as a whole, with major increases in each of the separate Western, Northern, and Eastern Australia markets. The increase equates to an equivalent exponential rate of 16% per annum over the five year period for Australia as a whole, and 22% per annum for the Eastern market, which is the largest provider to domestic use. These rates of change are large when compared with those in other gas producing countries, and when compared with past rates of change achieved in capacity and productivity in new and operating plants. The sizing and timing of three export LNG plants recently constructed at Gladstone, all largely dependent on coal seam gas, has seriously impacted the security of gas supply to the domestic market in Eastern Australia, as well as posing a range of environmental and social impacts, including conflicts with agriculture and land use. The situation highlights our failure to place sufficient emphasis on time dependent and experience dependent learning, and on the current and future value of natural gas to Australia’s industrial needs and capabilities. Key lessons include the need for Australia to balance domestic consumption with exports, and for the chemical engineering community to become more involved with government policy and decisions regarding resource development and use, and to placemore emphasis in chemical engineering education on assessment, extraction, purification anddistribution of raw materials
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationChemeca 2016
Subtitle of host publicationChemical Engineering - Regeneration, Recovery and Reinvention
Place of PublicationMelbourne, VIC
PublisherEngineers Australia
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)9781922107831
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventChemeca: Australasian Conference on Chemical Engineering 2016 - Adelaide, Australia
Duration: 25 Nov 201628 Nov 2016
Conference number: 44th


ConferenceChemeca: Australasian Conference on Chemical Engineering 2016
Abbreviated titleCHEMECA 2016


  • Australian natural gas
  • Domestic and export markets
  • Sustainable extraction rate

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