Offshore South Australia exploration positive, official claims

Offshore staff

CANBERRA, Australia – The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) says a new offshore oil province in the Great Australian Bight would benefit South Australia and the country as a whole.

During hearings of the Senate Environment and Communications References Committee “Inquiry into oil or gas production in the Great Australian Bight” in Adelaide, APPEA’s Matthew Doman said if exploration proved a major new oil source, this would help address Australia’s widening trade deficit in a vital commodity.

“About 80% of the oil we use in Australia is imported, costing us around $34 billion a year,” he said. “Local production has been falling steadily. Australia has less than 10 years of proven domestic crude oil reserves left.

“The Great Australian Bight could be the new oil province that boosts our energy security for decades to come.”

Doman added that the government had overhauled Australia’s regulatory regime over the past five years, achievements including:

  • A single, independent regulator with deep expertise in the offshore environment
  • An unambiguous focus on rigorous risk assessment, free from political or other influences
  • A very conservative approach which requires risks to be reduced to as low as reasonably practicable
  • An objectives-based approach which is more flexible than prescriptive regulation and promotes continuous improvement.

If current plans were approved, the industry would spend more than $1 billion on near-term exploration activities, he said.

“With proper regulatory oversight, there is no reason a safe, sustainable offshore petroleum industry should not be possible for South Australia...The industry’s record of safe, sustainable operations offshore in neighboring Victoria show that similar development could occur in the bight with minimal risk to the environment.”


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