Shale gas exploration in Australia could boost manufacturing: Resources minister

Gary Gray, the recently-appointed federal minister for resources, has commented that the development of the shale gas industry in Australia could lead to a massive boost for Australian industry.

Gary Gray, the recently-appointed federal minister for resources, has commented that the development of the shale gas industry in Australia could lead to a massive boost for Australian industry, citing what's been called the US “manufacturing renaissance”.

Gray, a former executive at energy company Woodside, commented on Wednesday that upward pressure on east coast gas prices in Australia would be eased as the shale gas industry was grown.

"The technology that will drive manufacturing back to the United States … This is the technology that will drive our wealth for the future," said Gray.

The boom in shale gas in the United States has led to a recent resurgence in their manufacturing sector and the decision to onshore by some companies. It has also been cited in Incitec Pivot’s recent decision to open a new ammonia factory in Louisiana.

Deloitte’s Stephen Reid was more cautious about the possibility of replicating the US experience in Australia.

"There is a lot of talk about shale but there is no guarantee that it will be economically viable in Australia…the skills to do the work, the availability of fracking crews, will be a real bottleneck, I suspect," he told Fairfax Media.

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