Launch of Australia’s 2021 Offshore Greenhouse Gas Storage Acreage Release 

Video address

Hello all and welcome to Australia’s 2021 Offshore Greenhouse Gas Storage Acreage Release.

It is very pleasing to see that this release has attracted both domestic and international interest.

Thanks to Geoscience Australia for hosting this webinar and to all those who will be contributing today.

This is Australia’s first greenhouse gas acreage release since 2014 and the third we have held. 

It comes at a time when the oil and gas industry is looking for new pathways to cut their carbon emissions.

The Australian Government is committed to reducing carbon emissions at the same time as ensuring that our industries remain strong.

We are cutting emissions through the use of technology, not taxes or impositions on business.

Carbon capture, use and storage (CCUS) is one of the priority technologies that we are developing.

We are investing more than $300 million over the next 10 years in CCUS projects and hubs.

This includes the $50 million CCUS Development Fund launched in March 2021, and the $250 million CCUS Hub and Technologies Program launched in September 2021. 

These investments build on the $790 million invested in CCUS-related initiatives since 2008.

And the 2021 Offshore Greenhouse Gas Storage Acreage Release will support global emission reductions, while helping to ensure Australia’s resources sector remains strong.

The resources industry provides essential support to regional Australia and is vital to the nation.

It also underpins growth and prosperity for large parts of the world. Australian commodities support much of global manufacturing and energy supply.

Australia has the capacity to continue to be an energy export leader, at the same time as providing a regional hub for the storage of greenhouse gas. 

And today I am pleased to announce the opening of bidding on 5 areas for the 2021 acreage release:

  • Two areas are located in the Petrel-sub basin adjacent to Darwin.
  • One is located in the Browse Basin offshore of Western Australia.
  • And a further two are located in the North Carnarvon Basin offshore of Western Australia.

All of these locations represent outstanding opportunities for industry to explore for suitable permanent offshore CO2 storage sites.

As you will hear from Geoscience Australia shortly, a number of these areas have already been assessed for their high potential to represent areas of significant storage.

The government continues to provide ready access to thousands of terabytes of open file data via the online National Offshore Petroleum Information Management System.

And Geoscience Australia is providing access to a wealth of pre-competitive data sets and petroleum geological information in support of the release of offshore acreage.

Developing northern Australia is another government priority and the location of release areas will see significant investment in regional Western Australia and northern Australia. 

The proximity to gas fields and existing infrastructure of some of these areas provide opportunities for industry partnership and collaboration, further industrial development and the creation of jobs.

Secure energy can be produced while lowering emissions and reducing the initial cost of development.

It is important to note that titleholders are required to consult with relevant stakeholders, including the fishing industry, in the course of preparing to undertake any on water activities.

Maintaining good relations with the fisheries sector is crucial to ensure that both industries can continue to operate efficiently.

Bids can be submitted to the National Offshore Petroleum Titles Administrator from Friday 4 March 2022 to Thursday 10 March 2022.

Finally I would like to emphasise that Australia’s technology-led approach to emissions reduction is working. 

We have reduced emissions by 20.8% on 2005 levels – much higher than the OECD average.

The most recent projections show we will cut our emissions by up to 35% by 2030, well above our target of 26 to 28%.

And as we continue to reduce emissions, I will work to ensure that Australia remains an attractive destination for investment while maintaining our position as a world leader in the resources sector.

Thank you