The exploration and production of products in the petroleum sector is predominately based in Western Australia. The Carnarvon and Perth Basins in this region produced over 10.8 thousand megaliters of crude oil in 2018. In terms of natural gas, about 130 billion cubic meters were produced across the entire country in the same year. Australia produces more natural gas than it consumes; the population only consumed about a third of the production volume in 2018.
Australia recently overtook Qatar as the world’s biggest LNG exporter. With increasing global demand, the export volume of LNG has tripled since 2008. Australia’s biggest LNG export markets include Japan, China and South Korea. In contrast, the crude oil export volume has fluctuated over the past decade. The characteristics of Australian oil tend to be more suited to export markets. Therefore, Australia imports a significant volume of crude oil for its own refinery processes.
The surge in interest in renewable sources of fuel will inevitably shape the future of this industry in Australia. Experts agree that in some cases, renewable technologies are now at a point where they are economically viable within the industry. Oil and gas operations may soon be powered by renewable technology such as solar energy. While there has been a shift towards more environmentally conscious oil and gas operations, there is still tension between industry participants and environmentalists. Recently, the deepest offshore drilling operation in Australia was approved by regulators. U.S. owned Esso planned to drill for gas as deep as 2,300 meters off the Victorian coast. Opponents to the project have argued that the high risk involved with this type of operation can lead to disastrous environmental accidents.