National projects Australia’s Future Energy Resources

Aerial view of Brisbane at night

Australia’s Future Energy Resources project is investigating the national potential for new sediment-hosted energy resources, including oil, natural gas and hydrogen, that can support Australia’s transition to net zero by 2050.  

These resources include conventional and unconventional hydrocarbons, hydrogen and, significantly, sediments, such as salts with the capacity to store carbon dioxide (CO2). 

As Australia transitions to net zero, future energy resources must be developed responsibly, limiting greenhouse gas emissions while simultaneously guaranteeing secure energy supply.  

Domestically produced natural gas has an important enabling role for Australia's manufacturing industry as a reliable and firming source of energy, including its capability for building sustainable renewable energy hubs.  

The project supports the continued sustainable development of a strong and competitive hydrogen industry. Hydrogen can be produced by using either non-renewable or renewable energy sources. Hydrogen can also be produced by capturing ‘native’ hydrogen from geologically confined subsurface sources.  

Hydrogen production, however, needs to be linked to hydrogen storage, especially if gas volumes are to be made available for export. Underground salt accumulations have been identified as having optimal storage capabilities and the Australia’s Future Energy Resources project is mapping and evaluating salt occurrences within Australia's sedimentary basins.

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Area of focus for continental-scale projects

As Australia moves to net zero and with strict limits being imposed on Australia’s CO2 emissions by current and future energy producers from other sectors and industries, capture and storage of generated carbon dioxide in geologically suitable rock formations will be needed.  

This project includes studies to identify prospective regions for CO2 geological storage, including potentially unlocking large CO2 storage capacities. It also provides an insight into Australian hydrocarbon resource inventory and potential of near-depleted oil reservoirs, through utilising CO2 enhanced oil recovery (CO2-EOR) technique.   

In addition, Australia’s Future Energy Resources project is compiling inventories on selected underexplored onshore sedimentary basins, providing a consolidated report on the current status of the geological and resource related knowledge of each basin.

What we are doing

Australia’s Future Energy Resources project comprises 4 activities, focusing on a particular energy resource or energy-related commodities, including natural gas, crude oil, hydrogen and opportunities for geological storage of CO2.


Australia’s Future Energy Resources project produces a set of comprehensive geoscientific reports, providing new information and integrated datasets that address exploration uncertainties and can support industry stakeholders in their investment decisions. These products assist government with the formulation of future energy strategies, including Australia’s path to a low carbon economy. 

Publications, interpretations and new data collected throughout the project will be made publicly available through the Exploring for the Future website and Geoscience Australia’s Exploring for the Future Data Discovery Portal


Geoscience Australia acknowledges all landholders and communities who have supported our work in rural, regional and remote Australia. 

Geoscience Australia staff engaging with communities

Important community information

Geoscience Australia is committed to land, air and marine access best practice and to protecting cultural heritage and the environment. 

We thank the people and communities who collaborate with us to ensure the success of the Exploring for the Future program. 

Geoscience Australia activities are not undertaken on behalf of any exploration company; we work for the benefit of all Australians.

All data produced by Geoscience Australia, including the data from this project, will be made publicly available after quality assurance has been performed. 

For more information or general enquiries, please email


Current program

The current Exploring for the Future program (2020–24) focuses on 8 interrelated projects, united in growing our understanding of Australia's geology.

Three deep-dive projects in potentially resource-rich corridors identified in the east and west of Australia: Darling–Curnamona–Delamerian, Officer–Musgrave–Birrindudu and Barkly–Isa–Georgetown projects. 

Three national projects with a focus on southern Australia: Australia’s Resources Framework, National Groundwater Systems and Australia’s Future Energy Resources projects.

Program support
Two program support projects: Enhanced Data Delivery and Geoscience Knowledge Sharing projects.