Australia’s oil and gas industry could provide a A$350 billion (US$270 billion) boost to the national economy and provide more than 220,000 jobs over the next 20 years, said, APPEA chief executive Andrew McConville, quoting a recent EY report, at today's APPEA 2021 event.

“The fact we are having a conference at all is testament to Australia’s strong Covid response and how the oil and gas industry played a big part ensuring the lights stayed on and the factories still produced.

“In fact, without our industry, there would have been no hand sanitiser, no computers to work from home with and no phones to keep in touch with loved ones,” said McConville in his keynote address at the APPEA 2021 conference.

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The oil and gas industry today contributes around 3% to Australia’s GDP (gross domestic product) and around 13% of the nation’s total exports -directly and indirectly supporting 80,000 jobs in Australia and hundreds of thousands more in manufacturing, transport, electricity generation and other industries that rely on the industry’s outputs.

“But this is just the tip of the iceberg, with a recent EY report showing that under the right investment settings, the oil and gas industry could provide a A$350 billion boost to the economy and more than 220,000 jobs over the next two decades,” he said.

Vital role in reducing emissions

“And despite what our detractors might say, our industry is doing a lot of heavy lifting when it comes to tackling climate change. It is a fact that natural gas plays a vital role in reducing Australia’s and Asia’s emissions.”

Australian liquefied natural gas exports are estimated by the Federal Government as having the potential to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions in importing countries by about 170 million tonnes per annum.

“Natural gas plays an important role in balancing renewable energy and our industry is also leading the world in the practical development of carbon capture and storage and hydrogen to ensure a cleaner energy future,” added McConville.

However, he cautioned that the oil and gas industry cannot rest, instead needing to continue to build trust and showing the nation’s population the good it is doing and how it is driving change.

Speaking on Tuesday at APPEA 2021, the 60th of the usually annual conferences, McConville remembered the inaugural event held in 1961.

Trouble-making organisation

Registrations cost two guineas ahead although the government refused to let anyone attend as they viewed the-then Australian Petroleum Exploration Association (APEA) as an “upstart trouble-making organisation”.

“Some would argue not a whole lot has changed!” McConville quipped.