Energy exports bring in AUS$67bn to the Australian economy as the country remains the world’s second largest exporter of coal and third largest exporter of liquid natural gas (LNG).
A report from the Australian Government’s Office of the Chief Economist revealed that the energy sector accounted for 6% of GDP in 2014–15 and gave employment to 1.3% of the workforce.
In October 2015 the proportion of Australian households with solar panels installed stood at 17%. In 2013 the country was the world’s eighth largest generator of solar electricity.
Australia enjoys relatively low energy prices, with petrol and diesel prices among the lowest in OECD countries in 2014–15. It currently produces three times its own energy needs.
Indonesia is the biggest exporter of coal, while Qatar and Malaysia are ahead of Australia in terms of LNG production.
However, the chief executive of the Australian Pipelines and Gas Association (APGA) called for further development of the country's natural gas reserves.
Cheryl Cartwright, chief executive of APGA, said: “With such a valuable commodity it is disappointing that some state governments are delaying or blocking the development of gas reserves.”
Natural gas is the second most important overall fuel source in the country, according to the report.
The report revealed natural gas supplies to the manufacturing sector were almost double electricity supplies, at 400 petrajoules as opposed to 225 petrajoules worth of electricity.
“Gas is second only to oil in providing useable energy for the Australian economy. And it is the largest provider of stationary energy, as oil is mainly used in transport,” said Cartwright.
In 2013-14, 825 petajoules of gas were consumed to provide stationary energy, compared to 790 petajoules of electricity, in providing stationary energy.
Onshore conventional gas reserves are primarily found in South Australia, while offshore reserves are found off Victoria and Western Australia.