Oil and Gas is Underpinning WA Economic Growth

The latest Petroleum in Western Australia released this week shows Western Australia's oil and gas industry is helping underpin the solid economic growth of the local economy over the next five years, as predicted in the latest Access Economics forecasts.

Department of Industry and Resources' Director Petroleum Division Bill Tinapple said WA's oil and gas industry is underpinning the continued growth of the State, which according to latest forecasts is predicted to grow at around seven per cent in 2003-04, the strongest of all of the State's and Territories, and double that of the national economy.

"Western Australia's continued solid economic growth reflects the strength and potential of our highly prospective mineral and petroleum provinces, and this growth is led by the oil and gas industry and the new opportunities afforded by projects and value-adding gas processing industries," Mr. Tinapple said.

"A bright spot for 2002 was appraisal drilling tripling to 18 wells, compared to the previous year.

"Despite Methanex's recent decision to review its plans for a methanol plant on the Burrup Peninsula, the outlook for oil and gas developments in WA remains very positive, with the first proponent, Burrup Fertilisers shortly to commence construction of the world's largest ammonia plant.

"Add to that the $344 million in committed oil and gas exploration and 42 exploration wells during 2003-04, and you have a strong foundation for continued growth and development in WA."

Already, 27 exploration wells have been drilled in the first quarter of the 2003 calendar year, more than the total drilled in 2002. Apache Energy plans to continue active exploration by drilling 20 exploration wells. Woodside will participate in four commitment wells and a further two elective wells. BHP Billiton Petroleum, ROC Oil and Santos each have three or more exploration wells scheduled for drilling in 2003 within permits that they operate.

Perth Basin onshore and offshore exploration is projected to be extremely active following recent discoveries, including an oil discovery at Eremia announced recently by ARC Energy, with five exploration wells programmed for the first half of 2003. Important deep-water frontier wells are also scheduled for 2003 with two deep-water rigs operating in WA.

Mr. Tinapple said a complete profile of WA's oil and gas exploration, development and production is contained in the latest edition of Petroleum in Western Australia. "This publication is a must for all petroleum explorers and operators as it is the only complete digest of its kind in Western Australia," Mr. Tinapple said.

Produced by the Department of Industry and Resources, Petroleum in Western Australia is released twice a year.