Australia begins security review of offshore oil business

Rick Wilkinson
OGJ Correspondent

MELBOURNE, Feb. 3 -- The Australian government has begun a comprehensive review of security of the country’s offshore petroleum business in response to potential threat from terrorism and piracy.

Conducting the study will be Mick Palmer, federal transport security inspector, who will consider the nature and extent of current security control and oversight arrangements as well as the development and implementation of security programs.

Other considerations include government-industry relationships, communication and coordination, the economic and environmental cost of any violent takeover of an offshore installation, coastal and high seas shipping routes used to transport oil and gas products, and the supply and support of offshore platforms and associated facilities used to deliver building components for offshore fields.

Federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said while there is no known threat to any Australian installation offshore, it is necessary to be vigilant and take preemptive action.

Albanese said the industry already employs more than 10,000 people and generates in excess of $22 billion (Aus.)/year in export earnings. Thus any act of terrorism could be extremely damaging to Australia’s economy as well as its natural environment.

The study will canvass federal, state, and territory agencies, ship owners, port operators, and offshore facilities operators. A draft report is scheduled for late this year.

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