APPEA chief on China-Australia tensions

THE Australian Petroleum Exploration Production Association believes there is little industry can do to help quell tensions between China and Australia, and that, so far, exports of LNG have remained unaffected.
APPEA chief on China-Australia tensions APPEA chief on China-Australia tensions APPEA chief on China-Australia tensions APPEA chief on China-Australia tensions APPEA chief on China-Australia tensions

Paul Hunt

Senior Journalist: Oil & Gas, Policy.

Paul Hunt


While grain growers and Australia's agricultural industry are preparing for the worst as China looks to put tariffs on barley exports, beef, dairy and wine, Australia's LNG industry has so far remained unaffected. 

The nation has already put on the blacklist three Queensland slaughterhouses and one from New South Wales. 

China's sudden decision to impose tariffs on Australian have been seen as retaliation for the federal government's push for an inquiry and investigation into the outbreak of COVID-19 which has dragged the global economy into a recession. 

Speaking to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Country Hour radio program late last week, APPEA chief Andrew McConville said he was optimistic the oil and gas sector was doing all it could to ensure Australia's third-largest export remained unaffected during China-Australia economic tensions.

However, McConville noted there is little the oil and gas sector could do in the sticky situation. 

"We have to respect and… leave that (foreign policy) to our government (and) the Chinese government to work those things through," McConville told Radio National. 

"We can only focus on the things that we can control and what we can control is production and the safety of our industry. That is where our focus has got to be." 


McConville refused to be drawn on whether APPEA wanted a seat at the negotiating table between Canberra and Beijing. 

"I think that's something well above my paid grade. I am an industry guy, I'm not a politician (and) I'm not a diplomat," he said. 

"I'll remain focused on making sure that we can continue to get our people in to produce the product and supply the markets. That's really all we can do."

McConville said so far, production and exports remained unchanged, and that the latest data was reassuring, with 28 cargoes of LNG moved in March. Research firm EnergyQuest noted in its own research throughout April cargoes of LNG was actually higher than March in a positive note for Australia. 

"Business is continuing and that's what we'll stay focused on," he said. 

"We've enjoyed very strong relationships with China and all of our trading partners, and we continue to supply to all of those markets. We have not seen off the basis of the latest data, which is March, any disruption to that trade." 

Australia's gas export industry is worth in the region of A$21 billion per annum, placing it just below iron ore and coal exports. 

The World Health Organisation will meet for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began tonight. Australia and the European Union are expected to back the US in pushing for a probe into the coronavirus' origin.