The Federal Government has announced a major new study into the ‘rapidly changing’ eastern Australian gas market.

Federal Resources and Energy Minister, Gary Gray, said that the study comes at a crucial time for the eastern Australian gas sector, with the development of coal seam gas assets and the liauified natural gas (LNG) export industry.

"We know there is the gas in the ground, but the scale of change in the market is unprecedented – with an expected tripling of total natural gas demand in eastern Australia by 2020.” Mr Gray said.

The Government has provided additional funding for the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism to do the study with the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics.

The study will provide a comprehensive analysis of the domestic gas market with the support of independent experts and stakeholders. It is expected to be completed by the end of 2013.

"As highlighted in our 2012 Energy White Paper, this change presents both opportunities and challenges for our nation," Mr Gray said.

"Without careful and independent analysis, there is a tendency to only see the challenges; uncertainty in the timing of production response, the implications of increasing exposure to international markets, and questions about the availability and cost of domestic gas.

"However we need to also ensure we are well informed if we are to seize the opportunities available to us."