A snapshot of the nation’s energy stocks has highlighted the potential for Australia to become a major producer of hydrogen for domestic use and as an export commodity.
The hydrogen potential was contained in Geoscience Australia’s assessment of Australia’s Energy Commodity Resources assessment for 2022, which also included a detailed analysis of Australia’s non-renewable energy resources comprising uranium, coal, oil, and gas commodities in 2020 and 2021.
The report said that with large potential for renewable energy, abundant identified resources of natural gas and coal, and good potential geological storage sites for any co-produced CO2, Australia is well placed to become a major hydrogen producer.
“Australia’s future energy production will increasingly be focussed on developing clean energy technologies to meet the net zero greenhouse gas emissions target by 2050,” the report said.
“Australia’s first shipment of blue hydrogen to Japan in January 2022 was an important first step in developing our clean energy future.
“Development of an Australian hydrogen industry will not only ensure the nation’s future energy security, but also enable its abundant non-renewable energy resources to be transformed into a carbon free energy source for overseas markets.
“Some $133 billion to $185 billion is currently in the investment pipeline for hydrogen.
“This is equivalent to 35 per cent of all planned energy and mineral resource investment into Australia.
“The Government has also invested $1.2 billion in funding to support hydrogen projects and research.”
The report highlighted the decline in demand for oil, natural gas, coal, and uranium as COVID-19 lockdowns hampered industrial, commercial, and social activities globally.
Looking ahead, the report said that with vast, widely distributed energy resources across the country, Australia remains well placed to continue its role as a leading supplier of black coal, natural gas and uranium resources as world energy markets recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
But it noted that Australia’s total demonstrated resources for oil, gas and black coal energy commodities all declined during 2020, despite falls in annual production.
“The decline in conventional natural gas and coal seam gas resources is particularly notable given the importance of these energy commodity resources for both domestic and global energy security and reflects diminishing exploration investment for new gas resources in recent years,” it said.
“Only 38 per cent of conventional gas resources and 52 per cent of coal seam gas resources are classified as proven and possible reserves, the remainder representing contingent resources with economic or technical barriers to their development.
“Contingent gas resources are not being converted to reserves at the same rate that our gas reserves are being produced. Unlocking these contingent gas resources is important to ensuring Australia’s future energy security.”
Federal Minister for Resources, and Northern Australia Madeleine King said the assessment reaffirmed Australia’s position as a leading global energy producer and supplier going into the current world energy crisis.
“Australia remains a secure and reliable supplier of energy to our trading partners, particularly in this time of global energy volatility, and we will continue to help them achieve their climate ambitions,” Minister King said.