Petroleum, but not as you know it
The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) is holding its 2012 conference in Adelaide, and has attracted some world leaders of the industry.
Total SA’s chief executive Christophe de Margerie debunked thoughts of peak oil production being reached, with new sources such as tight gas and shale oil being hailed as the new sources of energy, with advances in technology allowing them to be exploited more readily.
The presence of de Margerie and Saudi Arabia Petroleum and Mineral Resources Minister Ali I. Naimi at this conference is recognition of Australia’s significance as a future source of non-traditional petroleum products.
The offshore LNG industry in Western Australia is significant in global terms and construction of coal seam LNG facilities in Gladstone (Queensland) has commenced. Coupled with this, Darwin will host the onshore facilities of the Impex Ichthys project and the Cooper Basin in South Australia is being hailed as a future source of shale gas and tight gas, with considerable exploration activity there.
This was sufficient for the South Australian Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis to launch a draft road map for an environmentally sustainable industry at the APPEA conference, in what was hailed as an Australian first.
While there was optimism at the conference about the level of petroleum reserves in the world, there was a note of caution regarding the impact that environmental considerations could have on how much of these reserves will be accessible for extraction.
Already this is a politically sensitive issue in Queensland where many of the coal seam gas wells are close to traditional agricultural land and there are community concerns about the impact on water for agriculture.
However Australia is already the fourth-ranked exporter of LNG in the world and the increase in production projected over the next decade should see Australia rise in those ranks. As already seen in Western Australia and Queensland, there is considerable infrastructure investment associated with the gas industry, boosting the construction sector, although in many instances the prime beneficiaries are overseas companies and the work for local companies is limited, leading to a 2-speed economy.
The APPEA conference wraps up on Wednesday 16, with a golf tournament held over the following two days for those who don’t have to rush back to their desks.
For more information visit: www.appeaconference.com.au