A key report – issued yesterday by energy advisory group, EnergyQuest – showed that eastern Australian gas production for the quarter was 185 petajoules, a 10.2% jump that was underpinned by surges in Victorian and Queensland output.
The growth in gas production was primarily driven by continuing growth in gas-fired electricity generation, offsetting the impact of the drought on hydro and water-cooled, coal-fired generation, according to EnergyQuest chief executive Dr Graeme Bethune.
“This growth in such a short time is a remarkable achievement by the gas industry,” Bethune said.
“Peak gas demand occurs in the September quarter and increasing winter production is always a challenge. Beating the previous peak by 10% is a real feat and one which significantly reduced the pressure on the east coast electricity system during winter.”
Production by ExxonMobil/BHP Billiton from Longford in Gippsland, Victoria, reached a record 84.3PJ – an increase of 18.6% on the previous September 2006 quarter.
Meanwhile, coal seam methane production, primarily in Queensland, grew by 34.1% in the quarter to a record 28.8PJ.
Australian CSM also achieved a record 103 PJ of production in the year to 30 September 2007 – the first time it has broken the 100 PJ barrier in a 12 month period.
WA domestic gas production capacity constrained
But the picture was very different on the other side of the country. While Western Australia’s LNG export production grew by 1.6%, production of gas for WA’s domestic customers was essentially flat at 82PJ during the quarter due to capacity constraints on gas production and delivery.
Oil production falls
Meanwhile, oil production fell sharply in the September quarter, down by 18.1% to 29 million barrels due to natural field decline and various disruptions.
Strong growth in east coast gas reserves
The EnergyQuest quarterly report also provides updated estimates of Australian oil and gas reserves. Australia’s proved and probable gas reserves were 41,100PJ at the end of September. East coast gas reserves have increased by around 800PJ since June this year.
Gas reserves were 15,700 PJ on the east coast and 25,400 PJ on the west coast. This equates to about 25 years of reserve cover in both cases, based on current levels of production.
Australia’s proved and probable reserves of oil and natural gas liquids were 2.2 billion barrels at the end of September, or 11.5 years reserve cover.
EnergyQuest oil and gas production and reserves estimates are compiled from a comprehensive database of company reports and are published in the company’s EnergyQuarterly.