WA Petroleum Day took place yesterday after the RIU GoodOilConference, kicking off with welcomes from State Treasurer and Energy Minister Ben Wyatt and Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety director-general David Smith.
State Treasurer Wyatt gave the opening address at the annual event which followed the annual RIU GoodOilConference, held on Wednesday and Thursday this week, at Hyatt Regency Perth.
Treasurer Wyatt spoke about the strength of the petroleum sector to the audience made up of members of industry, government and the media.
Wyatt told the audience: “If you want an example of diversity, the vast array of organisation, skills, expertise that is part of your industry is quite extraordinary, whether you be large international organisations or small one-person organisations, the way technology has moved, the skills that are required are so diverse that’s created such a vast amount of opportunity.
“It is something that I think most Western Australians perhaps don’t have an appreciation of but one that benefits every single Western Australian.”
WA Treasurer and Energy Minister Ben Wyatt.
The treasurer is energy minister for the state and manages the portfolio on behalf of end-users.
He became a member of the WA State Parliament in 2006 and is a senior member of Western Australia’s McGowan Labor Party government.
Wyatt said: “As treasurer, I have a keen interest in the success of your industry, very very keen interest, and when we have an oil price with an 8 in front of it, no doubt everyone in this room is excited as much as I am excited, not just around revenue to the state but ongoing excitement, investment, innovation in the space that you all are operating in.”
The WTI Crude oil price is currently about $68.83 and reached a memorable US$80 a barrel earlier this year.
READ: RIU GoodOilConference told to expect growth and warned price sensitivity kicks in after US$70 a barrel mark
WA Petroleum Day had followed the well-attended RIU GoodOilConference.
The treasurer delivered the opening address on behalf of Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston who was interstate for a CEDA conference with a similar message to Wyatt’s today — there’s value in setting up an operation in LNG-rich WA.
Wyatt highlighted the history of discoveries in the state, emphasizing “we have continued to make discoveries.
He said: “This year marks the 65th anniversary of Western Australia’s first oil discovery — the Rough Range well near Exmouth, drilled by the true pioneers of this state’s oil and gas industry.
The West Australian Petroleum Company’s first exploration bore, Rough Range No. 1, produced the first significant flow of oil in Australia on December 4, 1953 and attracted global attention.
Wyatt said: “While that discovery did not lead to the commercial flows of oil, it certainly precipitated the flow of just about every one of the world’s major oil and gas players to our shores, in search of hydrocarbons.
“Economic impacts from these activities are seen and well recognised.”
Wyatt noted offshore royalties went to the Federal Government, saying “as treasurer I do lament the fact that the fiscal rewards for the people of WA are not greater,” before highlighting the McGowan Government’s support for industry.
“Our government is committed to making even more of our natural advantages in oil and gas to establish a services hub for Australia’s vast LNG resources.”
This support extends to the establishment in March of an LNG Jobs Taskforce, with the Labor government’s aim being to create “new long-term job opportunities focused on servicing, maintaining and improving existing operations.
“The taskforce aims to establish Perth as an LNG hub, similar to other international energy hubs such as Aberdeen … and Houston.
“This is a multibillion-dollar-a-year opportunity for Western Australia.
“While natural gas projects, naturally, get the big headlines, oil developments quietly continue to play a strong role in our industry.”
Displays were a feature of both the oil-and-gas industry drawcards.
Wyatt argued gas was well placed to “play a balancing role” for the take-up of renewable energy supply sources.
He said: “I expect that in the next 20 years, our use of natural gas to generate electricity will be at least as prominent in our energy mix as it is today.
“It will have a critical role in providing flexible and dispatchable energy to help manage some of the system security challenges that are emerging with the rapid update of renewable energy sources.”
Wyatt also tipped growth for the LNG industry.
He said: “LNG will play an integral role in this new energy landscape, accounting for almost 90% of projected growth in the long-distance gas trade, indeed the number of countries importing LNG has already risen from just 15 when I was elected to parliament to 40 today.”
Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety director-general David Smith spoke at WA Petroleum Day.
Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety director-general David Smith took the stage this morning after Wyatt, encouraging the audience to nominate acreage for release to industry.
Smith spoke about the Petroleum 2020 reform project and efforts to reduce three petroleum and pipleline Acts into one modern Act and 10 regulations to three.
He said a discussion paper on the reforms, which aim to reduce red tape and compliance costs, would be released in the near future.
“We’ve also introduced strategic five-year acreage release of the petroleum exploration areas across the Canning and Perth basins.
Buru Energy’s acreage on the Canning Basin.
“The acreage release schedules will be updated at least once a year or at when significant amounts of prospectivity data or acreage becomes available to warrant a review.
“Your industry and people in this room are encouraged to nominate specific areas for acreage release which will be considered in the year it’s nominated.”
Smith also highlighted the creation of the LNG Jobs Taskforce earlier this year to establish Perth as an LNG hub
He re-flagged members of the taskforce were drawn from government and industry, saying he expected “DMIRS would play its role in supporting this taskforce.”
Smith said: “It’s an exciting time, there’s lots happening, in the department as well.
“There is a real sense of preparing for the future and the contribution we can make.
“Western Australia as a whole is well positioned to make the most of those opportunities presented by its oil and gas resources.”
The agency head flagged the opportunities extended to project development and construction, services and maintenance, research and development, software and technology, and decommissioning.
Smith said: “The department’s ultimate role is to encourage the responsible and sustainable use of the state’s resources for the benefit of the Western Australian community.
“It will do this by being the best regulator it can be.”