Speaking at the 2007 AustralAsian Oil & Gas Conference in Perth yesterday, Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association chief executive Belinda Robinson said the nation’s cleaner energy future lay in natural gas.
“My key message is that the bridge to what is likely to be a very different energy future for us all is Australian gas,” Robinson said.
“In this current debate we hear a lot about clean coal, geothermal, solar, wind, ethanol, nuclear and even hydrogen.
“These are purported to be the silver bullets that are repeatedly proffered as the solution by the followers of energy fashion fads.
“While all of these possibilities must and should be explored as part of any prudent public policy approach, gas is the clear bridge to the future if we take each in turn and check their capacity for delivering in the short term.”
While Robinson acknowledged that gas is a higher emitter than renewable energy, she said it produced about half the greenhouse emissions of coal-fired power generation.
“The other major advantage of gas is its capacity to make a substantial difference to greenhouse emissions in the short term while other long term solutions are being explored,” she said.
Australia already has more than 100 years worth of proven and probable gas reserves and Robinson said there was much more to be found.
“As a source of electricity, the technology is here, now, and we do not have to wait 10 or more years,” she told the conference.
APPEA believes that within 10 years the upstream oil and gas industry will be recognised as producing reliable, clean energy and substantial wealth for Australia.
By 2017, LNG production capacity will exceed 50 million tonnes per annum, according to APPEA.
It also believes natural gas for industrial use and as a competitive feedstock for resources processing will double, while natural gas usage for electricity generation will represent 70% of total new production capacity by 2017.
Robinson said realising these targets would deliver wealth, great fuel diversity, jobs, infrastructure, regional development and greenhouse gas reductions for Australia.
She said she was “bewildered” that the nation’s major political parties had yet to realise the potential of Australia’s natural gas in framing greenhouse gas policy positions.
“With the world scrambling for answers and alternatives, the signs are very clear that this raging domestic, political and energy policy issue is likely to get even more frantic as we approach the federal election,” Robinson said.
“There is no doubt that the major party that incorporates natural gas as a central plank of its election platform will steal the greenhouse show by demonstrating a commitment to achieving something substantial in the short term.
“I am confident that voters will see the value of gas as part of a comprehensive and reasoned strategy.”