APPEA tells SEAAOC new partnerships needed to boost exploration

INNOVATIVE new partnerships and strategies between Australia and its near neighbours are urgently needed to stimulate exploration needed for vital new oil and gas discoveries, according to the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA).
APPEA tells SEAAOC new partnerships needed to boost exploration APPEA tells SEAAOC new partnerships needed to boost exploration APPEA tells SEAAOC new partnerships needed to boost exploration APPEA tells SEAAOC new partnerships needed to boost exploration APPEA tells SEAAOC new partnerships needed to boost exploration

Chairing today’s opening session of the 2005 South East Asia Australian Offshore Conference (SEAAOC) in Darwin, APPEA’s Director WA and NT, Don Sanders, urged delegates to rethink all aspects of petroleum exploration in the region.

He told the forum of industry and government representatives from Australia, Indonesia, Timor Leste, and Papua New Guinea that innovative thinking had already revolutionised seismic and geophysical technology and provided the industry with new tools with which to work.

“We are now ‘seeing’ our region’s geology in ways that were unimaginable 30 years ago,” Sanders said.

“It is time to take such a lateral approach to issues like exploration. Good data is the precursor to exploration investment. It helps minimise exploration risk.

“For example, should we be considering creating partnerships between the World Bank or the Asian Development Bank and Geoscience Australia to do regional pre-competitive work?

“Should we be focusing our regional taxation systems to make the area more attractive for commercial companies to do speculative multi-client seismic surveys that will straddle political and national boundaries?”

Sanders said countries in the region had some common problems.

“We are all remote from the normal supply points for sophisticated seismic, drilling and construction equipment. Cooperation between us will allow costs to be minimised,” he said.

Sanders dismissed the notion that current high spot prices for oil would implicitly lead to a resurgence in exploration.

“To win the exploration investment race we first have to join the Indonesians, who have recently made radical changes to their taxation regime to encourage exploration,” he said.

“We must then recognise the problem of insufficient exploration, and develop a government-industry partnership to work out what to do about it.”

Sanders said each time SEAAOC delegates met, companies discussed project opportunities or the benefits that service companies could deliver to new projects.

“[But] we have never substantively discussed the issue of how we get more exploration occurring in this region and, after all, exploration is the foundation on which all other parts of the upstream oil and gas industry rest.

“We have never achieved an ongoing convergence of political and commercial imperatives on project development. The reality is that after a lot of talk we have one major project under construction.

“So while we will leave this conference buoyed by camaraderie and some new industry insights, we are not likely to be emboldened with the excitement and anticipation that comes from knowing that this industry is making its maximum contribution to our country and the economy.

“It’s time for a change in our approach, if we are to change perceptions about this industry in Canberra and beyond.”

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