South Australia’s minister for energy and mining has told the industry that the regional government is “at your disposal” as he aims to placate fears of the energy transition. 

Minister Tom Koutsantonis told the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) industry conference that “we cannot transform our economy to net zero without this industry”. The association represents the views of upstream oil and gas companies in the country. 

APPEA’s chair and CEO of Woodside Energy, Meg O’Neill, told audiences that “it’s really fantastic to see such strong support for the industry, both at a federal level and at a state level”. She went on to say that the industry is “well positioned to seize, to be part of the decarbonisation solution”.  

Australia’s Federal Resources Minister, Madeleine King, also spoke on Monday, promoting the adoption of carbon capture and storage (CCUS) technologies.  

According to S&P global commodity insights executive director Antonio Dimabuyu, “oil and gas companies lead CCUS deployment activity in Asia-Pacific as they leverage technical capabilities, major capital project execution experience, ability to manage risk over long business cycles, and commercial market-making skills gained from hydrocarbon development”. 

Dimabuyu called for a regulatory framework to encourage the adoption of CCUS to increase investment. King also shared this sentiment stating that: “We want a regulatory system for carbon capture and storage that is robust and responsive.” 

Continued supply of Australian natural gas 

King told listeners that Australia must remain “reliable” and “essential” as a gas supplier as global governments transition to net-zero technologies up to 2050. Her words were met with criticism from environmentalists, who claimed that the promotion of continued oil and gas production contradicts net-zero efforts and the Paris Climate Agreement.  

According to the International Energy Agency’s net-zero by 2050 road map, from the point of publishing in May 2021, no new oil and gas projects could come online if the net-zero targets were to be achieved.  

King’s remarks come after she encouraged young people to take up careers in the resource sector during a conference in Perth last month. “The world needs our young people to consider careers in geoscience, geophysics, chemistry, metallurgy and engineering if we are to decarbonise,” she said.  

King claimed that Australia’s oil and gas resources are needed to offer future energy security both in Australia and abroad. “In many cases, Australia’s gas has the potential to lift millions out of energy poverty,” she told the Resources Technology Showcase conference.