Today's Trends: Australian Oil Production Decline Expected to Continue

Australia's crude oil production has declined steadily since peaking in 2000 at 809,000 b/d, reaching a low of 556,000 b/d in 2008, according to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2010. According to the Australian Energy Resource Assessment, Australia holds about .3 percent of world oil reserves, with limited reserves of crude oil and most of its known remaining oil resources being condensate and liquefied petroleum gas associated with giant offshore fields.

In its State of the Industry 2010 report, an update on the 2007 report Platform for Prosperity, the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) notes that, "There have been no major oil discoveries for many years and no new major projects with reserves of 100 million barrels or more are being planned. Therefore, oil production at least over the medium term and potentially beyond, is expected to steadily decline unless substantially more oil is discovered." APPEA noted that Australia's large but mostly unexplored frontier areas hold the greatest promise of such discoveries.

Two projects, Van Gogh and Pyrenees, began production this year, and North West Shelf oil production is expected to recover when the Okha floating production, storage and offloading vessel replaces the aging Cossack Pioneer early in 2011. However, other than these projects and planned start-up of the first stage of the Kipper project and Turrum project in the offshore Gippsland-Otway region, there is little on the horizon to help maintain Australia's oil production, APPEA notes.


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