Resources Minister focused on energy future
Federal Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, Madeleine King, has emphasised her Government’s commitment to Australia’s energy future.
Delivering a keynote address at the 2023 AOG Energy event, Minister King began with an acknowledgment of the past and Western Australia’s resource sector’s history of coming to the nation’s economic rescue, seen most recently during the COVID-19 pandemic, before focusing firmly on our energy future.
An audience of mostly energy industry representatives heard Minister King discuss the significant opportunities ahead in the sector including in carbon capture and storage and decommissioning oil and gas operations.
“Carbon capture and storage is a key technology for lowering emissions,” Minister King said pointing out that CCS should not be viewed as exclusively for use by the oil and gas sector but can also be applied to hard to abate sectors such as the cement industry.
She acknowledged that there have been some false CCS starts but is encouraged the industry is continuing to work with the technology and that government can have a role to play. Ms King highlighted the US government’s $2.25 billion investment to accelerate CCS uptake and capture millions of tonnes of CO2 and said her government will continue to provide targeted support for hard to abate sectors.
Australia’s energy supply future was also in focus as Minister King discussed today’s release of the Australian Energy Market Operator’s Gas Statement of Opportunities and her government’s support for ensuring domestic gas security. Ms King said the preferred approach to gas market issues was to work with the industry to find a market solution.
“I can reassure everyone that the Australian Gas Safety Mechanism remains a measure of last resort.” Minister King said.
Ms King went on to identify the opportunity in oil and gas decommissioning activities, which she expects will escalate rapidly in the next decade. Ms King sees a clear need to industry to pay for decommissioning and ensure decommissioning activities are safe, and timely and that environmental impacts are managed.
But Ms King sees the opportunity to build a highly skilled workforce as well as Australia’s capabilities in logistics, and waste and environmental management. “We need to plan now so that decommissioning can be done efficiently and cost-effectively for both government and industry,” said Ms King. “It needs to be done well, and in the right way, to benefit us all”.
Ms King said there was an opportunity to learn from decommissioning activities in the North Sea in a similar way we learned from project development in the North Sea when our oil and gas sector was developing.
To conclude Ms King thanked the industry, in particular the hard-working FIFO workforce, for its contribution to Australia’s economy. “Today the industry provides 80,000 direct jobs and many more indirect jobs. And that is probably a conservative estimate” said Ms King “All elements of the industry are important, but without the workers, it wouldn’t happen so I thank you all”