The federal government will allow the oil and gas industry to explore new offshore sites covering 46,758 square kilometres of Commonwealth waters.
- The federal government has approved 10 new ocean sites for oil and gas exploration
- It has also approved two new offshore greenhouse gas storage areas
- The Resources Minister says carbon capture and storage is important for the world’s push towards net zero emissions
In a video address to the NT Resources Week conference in Darwin, Resources Minister Madeleine King said the release comprised of 10 areas across the Bonaparte, Browse, Carnarvon, and Gippsland basins.
The locations are off the coasts of the Northern Territory, Western Australia, Victoria, and the Ashmore and Cartier Islands.
“The annual release of areas for offshore petroleum exploration supports ongoing investment in the nation’s petroleum sector, which is vital for the economy and meeting the energy needs of Australians,” she said.
“At the same time as we strive to reduce emissions it must be emphasised that continued exploration for oil and gas in Commonwealth waters is central to alleviating future domestic gas shortfalls.”
The news was welcomed by those attending the resources conference in Darwin, but further afield it has been met with disbelief.
“Labor likes to talk big on climate, but when it really matters they’ll do exactly what their fossil fuel donors demand,” Greens Senator Peter Whish-Wilson tweeted.
Greenhouse gas storage permits
The government has also today granted new “greenhouse gas storage permits” to some of Australia’s biggest greenhouse gas emitters.
The permits will allow Woodside Energy and Inpex to push ahead with offshore carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects.
“I want to see the industry convert its ambition for CCS into reality, I want industry to convert its talk about CCS into action,” Ms King said.
“Everyone in this audience today understands how important this is for the social licence of the sector, but it’s much more than that, because getting CCS right is important for the entire globe to reach net-zero emissions.”
Minister King said the approval for an “offshore greenhouse gas storage acreage” in the Bonaparte Gulf, near Darwin, would help drive plans for a Darwin Carbon Capture Use and Storage Hub.
Inpex’s vice president of corporate, Bill Townsend, said CCS would play a big role in the company’s future.
“One of the ways we’re seeking to reduce the carbon footprint of our Ichthys LNG [project in Darwin] is through CCS,” he said.
“What we’re proposing to do is capture CO2 and pipe it about 270 kilometres from Darwin and inject it back into the ground from whence it came.”