Future of Australian petroleum industry under scrutiny: APPEA
All Australians will benefit if the nation’s multi-billion dollar oil and gas industry meets targets contained in a crucial and timely report to be released today.The report - Platform for Prosperity - is the culmination of an 18-month petroleum industry analysis developed by the Australian upstream oil and gas industry, including consultation with officials from federal and state governments. The report will outline ways to strengthen the industry in the face of critical challenges such as climate change, declining oil production, skills shortages and escalating costs. Ms Belinda Robinson, Chief Executive of Australia’s peak oil & gas industry body, the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA), said the industry was at cross-roads.Ms Robinson said the report made it clear that Australia would have to make a choice between the ‘business as usual road’, which she said takes us to declining Australian oil production, mothballed Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) projects and a national greenhouse profile larger than it needs to be, or a road that leads to national prosperity, greater energy security and greenhouse action. “We must put in place a strategic plan that ensures the nation’s oil and gas industry meets the challenges so that all Australians can reap the rewards,” Ms Robinson said.“The options presented in the Platform for Prosperity report provide the framework to achieve this.“If we don’t tackle these issues in a deliberate, considered and rational way, the future of Australia’s petroleum industry, so vital to our economic wellbeing, will not realise its full and substantial potential,” she said.Ms Robinson went on to say that the stand-out opportunity for Australian industry is to help Australia and the Asia-Pacific region more broadly meet the greatest environment challenge facing the planet – climate change.“A major component to answering the greenhouse challenge is natural gas, which produces half of the carbon dioxide emissions of coal when used for electricity generation. Natural gas is the obvious transition fuel to what is likely to be a very different energy future,” she said.“By quadrupling Australia’s LNG capacity and substantially increasing the use of natural gas for electricity, Australia could prevent 180 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions in the Asia-Pacific region, including 30 million tonnes per annum in Australia by 2017.“But this won’t happen on its own. In addition to industry taking proactive action on a number of fronts, Australia needs policy settings that get LNG projects over the line and enable natural gas to compete with other fuel sources on a level-playing field” Ms Robinson said.