The prediction of LNG infrastructure being improved at a cost of $35.8bn, made in a Visiongain report, comes at a time when LNG continues to dominate the news headlines.

According to an Australian government report, the country could double its already large gas resource base and support a growing export industry.

Australia has around 390 trillion cubic feet in gas resources, excluding shale gas, ranking third behind coal and uranium as Australia’s largest energy resource, according to the report conducted by Geoscience Australia and the Australia Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics.

“While exploration for shale gas in Australia has only recently commenced and resources are poorly understood, shale gas could potentially double Australia’s gas resources,”

Australia’s Resources Minister Martin Ferguson said in a statement.

Australia is the world’s fourth largest exporter of LNG, but is expected to surpass Qatar as the world’s top LNG exporter by the end of the decade with around $170bn worth of projects under construction.

“Importantly, this report reconfirms Australia’s capacity to continue to be a major gas exporter supplying the world’s growing demand for gas well into the future,” Ferguson said.

Australia exported 20m tones of LNG valued at $10.47 billion in the 2010-2011 financial year.

Exports are forecast to grow by 19% in 2012-2013 as production from Woodside Petroleum’s new Pluto LNG project comes online, Ferguson said.

Elsewhere in the world, Chevron Corporation has signed a preliminary agreement to sell Japan’s Tohoku Electric one million tones of LNG every year for 20 years.

The gas will come from its Wheatstone plant in Australia, Roy Krzywosinski, Chevron Austalia’s managing director told reporters in Adelaide, adding that with this sale more than 80% of the gas from the 8.9m tonnes per year (mtpa) Wheatstone project had been sold to Asian customers.

Wheatstone, located off the coast of Western Australia, is currently under construction, with the first gas shipments expected in 2016.