Australia contains about 1,000tn cubic feet of untapped shale gas, however it requires effective environmental regulations and reduction in costs to exploit the resource to an optimum level, according to a new report from Australian Council of Learned Academies (ACOLA).
The report, ‘The Engineering Energy: Unconventional Gas Production’, found that exploration of gas deposits in the country is not cost-effective in most cases and is expected to emit higher carbon ratio than standard gas.
According to the report, shale gas infrastructure costs in the country will double, compared to US and requires high price to make it profitable.
Oil and gas companies are expected to invest about $500m in the next two years on shale gas exploration, while resources company Santos has already started work on an initial well in Queensland.
The extraction of shale gas is similar to coal seam gas, where both processes gather methane for energy use, while shale gas requires drilling at far greater depths, compared to coal seam gas.
The report states that shale gas industry also has to consider possible adverse impacts on the landscape, soils, flora and fauna, groundwater and surface water, the atmosphere and on human health.