Has Australia reached peak natural gas production?

Australia aspires to be a renewable energy superpower. Time will tell whether this is realistic or not but Australia is currently a natural gas superpower. It is one of the top 10 gas producers globally (number 7 in 2022) and one of the top LNG producers, importantly the only OECD LNG producer in the Asia Pacific region. However, in a recent presentation to the 2023 Roundtable for Energy Resources in South Australia EnergyQuest Chairman Dr Graeme Bethune raised the likelihood that Australian natural gas production has peaked:

  • Australia is at peak gas production.
  • Legacy fields are starting to decline and are not being replaced.
  • Australia has already reached peak LNG production, with volumes starting to decline, creating concerns for the Japanese and other buyers.
  • Declining Australian LNG volumes provide an opportunity for other producers like Qatar which is likely to get a free kick as Australia shuts down its gas industry.
  • As domestic gas fields begin to decline it is increasingly likely that gas volumes will need to be diverted from LNG projects to the domestic market, not only on the East Coast but also in WA and as they already are in the NT.
  • There remain significant uncertainties on domestic supply, with an increased chance of high prices and supply disruptions as supply falls faster than demand.

The presentation can be downloaded by clicking the button below.