Wednesday AM April 14th, 2010

The Prime Minister of Western Australia talked last night with oil and gas executives and policymakers at Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy. Ed Mayberry reports.

Premier Colin BarnettPremier Colin Barnett says Australia is already a world leader in mining, but is rapidly developing its offshore oil and natural gas industry.  Many multi-national energy firms are taking part in that emergence.

"About 90 percent of Australia's petroleum resources lie off the West Australian coast, and it's about 60 to 70 percent of existing petroleum and natural gas production occurs. But the undeveloped fields—the growth of the future—is off the West Australian coast.  There is about 160 trillion cubic feet of gas has been proven.  My guess, and I think industry sources would say, it will ultimately (be) well in excess of 200 TCF.  So that's a world-scale gas resource, very close to the markets of Asia."   

Premier Barnett says the majors are already in Australia, but his state is trying to attract the service companies.

"The big companies are all players—you know, the Shells, BP, ExxonMobil, Chevron—all there.  What we are seeing, however, is a lot of the oil and gas service companies moving into Western Australia.  And there's a sense, if you like, 'the Americans are back.'  And they are very welcome.  So there's a real buzz in Perth, the capital city of Western Australia, about the numbers of oil and gas companies and executives and specialists and technical people moving into Western Australia.  It's clearly going to be a period of dramatic expansion in petroleum, particularly in natural gas."

Premier Barnett says the liquified natural industry is expanding rapidly, with two-thirds of the world LNG demand in Asia.  He says Australia has a geographic advantage in being close to the Asian market.

Bio photo of Ed Mayberry

Ed Mayberry

Local Anchor, All Things Considered

Ed Mayberry has worked in radio since 1971, with many of those years spent on the rock 'n' roll disc jockey side of the business...