By business reporter Nassim Khadem, ABC

Oil and gas giants operating in Australia may not have to pay tax for years to come, as they accumulated $324 billion worth of tax credits in 2017-18.

Australian Taxation Office (ATO) statistics show the amount of tax credits, which can be used to lower liabilities in future years, has risen from $282 billion in 2016-17.

The figures reignited calls by some groups for a 10 per cent royalty to replace the petroleum resource rent tax (PPRT).

Out of 138 returns lodged in 2017-18, only six “profitable” projects paid the PRRT, a profits-based tax generated from the sale of natural gas and oil, but which excludes LNG.