PERTH (miningweekly.com) – The resources and oil and gas sectors have continued to drive the Australian economy during the March quarter, with the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) revealing that the sectors were the main drivers of a 1% increase in Australia’s gross domestic product (GDP) during the period.
The exports of goods and services contributed 0.5 percentage points to the GDP growth, with mining commodities identified as the main driver of an increase in exports.
The ABS noted this week that the export of goods and services rose 2.4% in March, following a 1.5% drop in the December quarter. Through the year, the export of goods and services increased by 4.6%, with the export of goods up by 2.9%, driven by liquefied natural gas (LNG), coal, iron-ore and nonmonetary gold.
The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (Appea) noted that oil and gas production rose by 8.4% over the March quarter, following the record A$22.3-billion in LNG exports in 2016/17.
Appea CEO Dr Malcolm Roberts said the data again confirms how significant LNG exports are to sustaining Australia’s economic growth.
“Australia’s LNG projects will deliver decades of economic growth, jobs and exports. As new projects reach full production, and as global prices recover, the export dollars earned by Australia’s eight LNG projects are rising quickly.”
This year, LNG exports are forecast to reach nearly 63-million tonnes, valued at A$30.4-billion, Roberts said.
“There is a growing demand for cleaner-burning energy in our region; according to the International Energy Agency, air pollution is causing millions of premature deaths in developing countries.
“With Australia’s abundant resources of natural gas, the outlook should be extremely positive. But for LNG to continue to be a pillar of the nation’s economy amid challenging market conditions and growing competition from other suppliers, exploration and development must be fostered, not restricted.”
Roberts called on all governments to consider the ongoing economic, social and environmental benefits offered by a growing gas industry and urged them to focus on cooperative action to reduce the cost and risks of producing gas for both the domestic market and for overseas customers.