Chevron ex­its Great Aus­tralian Bight

The Australian Energy Review - - NEWS - Cameron Drum­mond

A MONTH af­ter BP an­nounced it would not pro­ceed with ex­plo­ration drilling in the Great Aus­tralian Bight, Global en­ergy gi­ant Chevron has fol­lowed suit.

Chevron said that while it be­lieved the Bight was one of Aus­tralia’s most prospec­tive hy­dro­car­bon re­gions, it was not able to com­pete for fund­ing against the rest of its global port­fo­lio due to cur­rent low oil prices.

Chevron said the de­ci­sion was purely com­mer­cial, and not due to Govern­ment pol­icy, reg­u­la­tory, com­mu­nity or en­vi­ron­men­tal con­cerns.

“We ap­pre­ci­ate the strong sup­port from gov­ern­ments, reg­u­la­tors and the lo­cal com­mu­nity for our plans to ex­plore for hy­dro­car­bons off­shore South Aus­tralia,” Chevron Aus­tralia man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Nigel Hearne said.

“We are con­fi­dent the Great Aus­tralian Bight can be de­vel­oped safely and re­spon­si­bly and we will work closely with the in­ter­ested stake­hold­ers to help re­alise its po­ten­tial.”

AP­PEA South Aus­tralia di­rec­tor Matthew Do­man said Chevron’s de­ci­sion was dis­ap­point­ing for the wider Aus­tralian com­mu­nity who need new lo­cal en­ergy sup­ply, and for South Aus­tralians who would have ben­e­fit­ted from the ac­tiv­ity.

“Chevron has made clear its view that the re­source po­ten­tial of the Great Aus­tralian Bight re­mains sig­nif­i­cant but their de­ci­sion is a re­minder that much-needed in­vest­ment in de­vel­op­ing Aus­tralia’s en­ergy re­sources can­not be taken for granted,” Mr Do­man said.

“While sev­eral other com­pa­nies con­tinue to de­velop ex­plo­ration plans for the Bight, the in­ter­na­tional en­vi­ron­ment for the oil and gas in­dus­try is chal­leng­ing.

“With the oil price halv­ing over the last three years, ex­plo­ration ac­tiv­ity around the world is at very low lev­els.

“Global ex­plo­ration spend­ing is ex­pected to fall this year for the third year in a row to less than half 2014 lev­els.

“In Aus­tralia, on­shore and off­shore oil and gas ex­plo­ration is at 30-year lows – due to dif­fi­cult mar­ket con­di­tions, es­ca­lat­ing reg­u­la­tory costs and po­lit­i­cal bans on en­ergy de­vel­op­ment.”

While it may have ex­ited the un­der­ex­plored re­gion for the time be­ing, Chevron said it re­mained com­mit­ted to de­vel­op­ing its

“chevron has made clear its view that the re­source po­ten­tial of the Great aus­tralian bight re­mains sig­nif­i­cant but their de­ci­sion is a re­minder that much-needed in­vest­ment in de­vel­op­ing aus­tralia’s en­ergy re­sources can­not be taken for granted.”

WA as­sets, re­cently ac­quir­ing three new ex­plo­ration blocks cov­er­ing 23,170sqkm in the North Carnar­von Basin.

The blocks, A-528-P, WA-529-P and WA-530-P, would be op­er­ated by Chevron in a 50:50 JV with Wood­side En­ergy.

Mr Hearne said part­ner­ship was go­ing to be “cru­cial” for on­go­ing in­vest­ment in WA’S re­sources sec­tor to max­imise the value of avail­able re­sources.

“Off­shore WA is a global fo­cus area for Chevron and these new ex­plo­ration blocks add to our al­ready sig­nif­i­cant gas po­si­tion,” Mr Hearne said.

“We have in­vested bil­lions of dol­lars in West­ern Aus­tralia to com­mer­cialise our large gas re­source base through the Chevron-op­er­ated Gor­gon and Wheat­stone LNG and do­mes­tic gas fa­cil­i­ties and ex­pect to be here for decades to come.

“Through greater col­lab­o­ra­tion with other pro­duc­ers in WA, Chevron is also pur­su­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties to ac­cel­er­ate the com­mer­cial­i­sa­tion of our gas re­source base through non-op­er­ated LNG fa­cil­i­ties.”

Chevron said it would con­cen­trate on de­vel­op­ing its WA off­shore as­sets.

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