Gas important for Australia's future: energy minister

13:13, February 28, 2011      

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Australian Resources and Energy Minister Martin Ferguson on Monday said the boom in the natural gas sector will lift the nation's prosperity.

According to Ferguson, overseas companies were eyeing opportunities in investing in liquefied natural gas sector (LNG) projects within Australia, and LNG was exceptionally important to the nation's economic future.

"Within five years, we expect to climb further up the ladder with exports exceeding 50 million tonnes," he said in Canberra on Monday.

"That effectively means that only Qatar will be exporting more than Australia. This growth is underpinned by long term contracts. "

Australia was the fourth largest exporter of LNG, 8.12 billion U.S. dollars in 2010, and Ferguson said this would grow as more nations searched for lower carbon emitting fuels.

"In the last 12 months we have also achieved our first long term contracts with India and Korea," he said. "One of the reasons is because of the clean energy debate."

On Thursday, Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced a carbon price would be introduced from July 2012, but decisions were yet to be made on what sectors would be included.

Ferguson said gas and wind would be the early growth sectors in clean energy, if Australia established a price on carbon along with a renewable energy target.

He added that government will invest in skills to supply the workforce for the expanding clean energy sector, and local workers would benefit from it.

Source: Xinhua

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