The body representing Australia’s upstream oil and gas industry has thrown its support behind the industry playing a role in reaching net zero emissions targets by 2050.

The Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA) confirmed its backing for “a cleaner energy future” in the latest edition of its climate change policy principals, released on Friday.

APPEA believes its policy highlights how the sector is committed to meeting emissions reduction targets, while maintaining affordable, secure energy supplies.

“The oil and gas industry supports a national climate change policy that delivers greenhouse gas emissions reductions, consistent with the objectives of the Paris Agreement and with net zero emissions across the Australian economy by 2050 as part of a contribution to a goal of global net zero emissions by 2050,” APPEA chief executive Andrew McConville said.

Policy outline

The policy outlines that the target to reach net zero by 2050 should be the goal of both national and international policy, while also stating that climate policies should be "efficient, enduring and integrated with economic, social, technology and energy policies”.

APPEA’s policy also calls for Australia’s international competitiveness to be enhanced, calling for any national climate policy to maximise growth in jobs and investment and maintain the competitiveness of Australian trade-exposed industries, such as liquefied natural gas.

Another key principle in the industry group's policy is for universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy.

Gas integral to reaching emission targets

APPEA believes natural gas will be integral to reaching the net zero emissions target by 2050 while also meeting increasing energy needs.

While admitting “structural changes” are underway in the power generation sector with the growth in renewables, APPEA claims gas is the “perfect partner” to intermittent renewable energy that requires “on-call electricity generation" to manage falls in renewable output or peaks in demand.

“Greater use of Australian natural gas – in the domestic market, and LNG exported globally – can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions both here and abroad,” McConville said.

“Natural gas is a lower emitting and cleaner burning fuel than other sources, and it supports renewables and is a key pathway to large scale hydrogen development.

“This sector is fully committed to reducing its own greenhouse gas emissions and is rapidly advancing low emissions technologies such as carbon capture and storage and hydrogen. Both these technologies have been prioritised in the Australian Government’s Technology Investment Roadmap.”


APPEA also noted that technology would play a key role in the industry’s cleaner energy future, most notably the future deployment of carbon capture and storage technology as an abatement solution to help meet climate goals.

It also highlighted the role gas could play in establishing a large-scale commercial hydrogen industry in Australia, through using gas to produce hydrogen, as well as by utilising existing gas infrastructure to process and transport hydrogen.

“Australia’s LNG export success story means the Australian upstream oil and gas industry has the technology, expertise, commercial and trade relationships to make, in particular, hydrogen exports a reality,” APPEA outlined in its policy statement.

“This means Australia is well placed to capitalise on our already abundant natural advantage. Hydrogen is already being produced from Australian LNG exports. Developing a local hydrogen industry could enable lower emissions both in Australia and internationally, reduce energy costs, deliver energy security, together with new employment and manufacturing opportunities.”

Producers already onboard with 2050 target

McConville also noted that a number of oil and gas producers in Australia, and globally, were already setting their own net zero emissions targets.

“It’s encouraging to see the entire industry is moving in the same direction by producing a lower emission energy source and taking action to reduce their own emissions,” he added.

“Reducing global emissions is a global effort, and as an energy exporter, Australia is doing its part through many channels. Australia’s oil and gas sector is working hard to reduce, offset and mitigate emissions in its operations.”