WA gas production ramps up as national volumes decrease

waDOMESTIC gas production in WA has experienced its first significant quarterly growth increase in five years, according to the latest EnergyQuarterly report by advisory firm EnergyQuest.
Despite the rise – which coincided with the start-up of BHP Billiton’s Macedon gas project in WA – national petroleum, oil and gas production dropped in the three months to 30 September. Petroleum volumes were down 5.9 per cent to 138.1 million barrels of oil equivalent.
The report also found that electricity generation decreased by 3 per cent on the east coast, reflecting a milder winter and lower industrial demand.
Solar and wind were the only energy sources that grew in the quarter, with the latter now contributing to 41 per cent of South Australia’s total electricity generation.
In a statement, EnergyQuest chief executive Dr Graeme Bethune said one of the major issues facing the new Federal Government was rising unemployment as investment in LNG and other resources projects peaked.
“The Reserve Bank has already warned that resource sector investment – including mining – is now declining, while non-mining investment is expected to remain subdued,” he said.
“As a result, the labour market is softening.” Dr Bethune said that after the seven LNG projects currently under construction were completed around 2017, there was “little in the pipeline” in way of new ones.
“These projects employ huge numbers of people, with just two projects (Gorgon’s Barrow Island project and QGC’s QCLNG project) currently employing more than 20,000 people,” Dr Bethune said.
“New Australian greenfield projects are regarded as being too expensive, and while there is potential for brownfield expansion, there is nothing firm yet.”
Dr Bethune said it was a major challenge for both the new Federal Government and the industry.