Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia, Keith Pitt, has visited major gas and downstream processing projects in north Western Australia and praised the industry for continuing to supply markets at home and abroad throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Minister Pitt visited the Woodside-operated gas and downstream processing projects, including Pluto and Karratha gas plants, and the Yara Pilbara Fertiliser plant.
“I am delighted to visit some of Australia’s critically important world-class infrastructure and to show my support for an industry that is providing energy to Australia and the world,” Minister Pitt said.
“The Karratha and Pluto Gas Plants and their associated offshore infrastructure have secured Western Australia’s energy needs and have acted as incredible wealth generators for the state and the nation.”
“Even with a global pandemic and a drop in the oil price, Australia exported 78.3 million tonnes of LNG earning $36 billion in 2020, and we expect this to grow as the global economy recovers,” he said.
“Global gas demand is forecast to grow by 1.5 per cent on average per year out to 2025, providing incentive to ensure our large gas fields like Scarborough and Browse are developed as soon as possible.”
The Minister said Australia’s large upcoming offshore gas developments such as the Scarborough, Browse and the Barossa projects will create thousands of new high-wage jobs, including nearly 5000 jobs during construction and more than 1000 operational jobs.
“Australia is ready to capitalise on the expected growth in global gas demand driven by Asian economies,” he said.
The Minister added that the 2021-22 budget has committed $263.7 million over 10 years to fund the Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) Hubs and Technology Program, building on the $50 million previously announced in the CCUS Development Fund.
Woodside is targeting to give the go-ahead in the December half on its $16 billion Scarborough gas project in Western Australia, as well as the Barossa development, despite slumping to a $US4.03 billion ($5.2 billion) net loss in 2020. However, after a few delays, the Browse development is targeted to achieve front-end engineering and design (FEED) entry by 2023.