Soaring coal and gas prices will push Australia’s resource export earnings to a record high, new government figures reveal, reflecting the global energy supply crisis stemming from the pandemic and war in Russia in Ukraine.
Australia is now expected to earn A$425 billion ($319 billion) from energy and resource exports in the 12 months to June 30, up 33% from a year ago. This represents a 12% increase from the last estimate published in January, before Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine.
Liquefied natural gas export revenues will more than double from last year, bringing in 70 billion Australian dollars. Thermal coal revenues will nearly triple from AU$17 billion to AU$45 billion, while metallurgical coal revenues will reach AU$65 billion from AU$24 billion.
The rise in income is almost entirely due to higher prices, with only modest increases in the volume of exports, the figures show.
Soaring fossil fuel export earnings have more than offset a decline in iron ore export earnings, which will drop from A$158 billion last year to A$135 billion this year. This was also entirely due to lower prices. Together, iron ore, coal and gas accounted for 74% of projected export earnings for energy and resources.
Australian Resources Minister Keith Pitt said “critical global shortages” were behind the improved profits. “[Our] the resource sector knocks it out of the park and supports our economic growth, energy security and national security,” he said.
Australia will hold a general election next month, and Pitt has used record coal and gas revenues as ammunition against more climate-conscious centre-left parties that ran against the incumbent Liberal-National Conservative government. He warned that a Labor-Green coalition would not ‘fully support’ the country’s fossil fuel export industry.