Australia could be the world's biggest producer of liquefied natural gas within five years if the current boom continues, the Federal Government says.
Resources Minister Martin Ferguson has told an Australian Pipeline Industry Association conference that the country exported 20 million tonnes of LNG worth $10.4 billion in 2010/11.
Australia's refining capacity was rising, along with exports, and there was a steady pipeline of planned projects, he said.
"We are now the third-largest LNG exporter in the Asia-Pacific region and the fourth largest in the world," Mr Ferguson told delegates in Brisbane today.
"Our exports are forecast to grow by a further 19 per cent in 2012/13."
Thirteen projects worth about $176 million were under construction, the minister said, and would lift export capacity by 60 million tonnes.
"Based on these proposed and committed projects, our capacity could quadruple by 2017, potentially making us the world's largest LNG producer," he said.