Australia has plenty of natural gas, but it grows increasingly dependent on outside sources for its hydrocarbon liquids. New Zealand's main gas supply, Maui field, is in steep decline, and the country wants more exploration, fast, to prop up supplies. The problems are similar, if not identical. Without extraordinary moves, Australia's self-sufficiency in oil will drop from the 80% to 90% range over the past 10 years to less than 40% by 2010. Malcolm Garrett, chairman of the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association, encouraged the government to ease its...

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