Petroleum Exploration in Western Australia on the Rise

Petroleum exploration expenditure in Western Australia rose nearly 25 percent during 2002-03 compared to the previous year, according to seasonally adjusted figures recently released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The State's petroleum exploration expenditure increased 24.7 percent from $479 million in 2001-02 to $598 million in 2002-03, up $118 million.

Across Australia, expenditure rose by 12.5 percent, from $884 million to $995 million in 2002-03, an increase of $100 million.

Capturing most of the Australian petroleum exploration expenditure has increased Western Australia's share of the national total to 60 percent, up six percent on the previous year.

Department of Industry and Resources' Petroleum Division Director Bill Tinapple said Western Australia's oil and gas industry continues to underpin the State's economy, which is forecast to grow at around seven percent in 2003-04, the strongest of all of the State's and Territories, and double that of the national economy.

"Twenty five exploration wells have already been drilled in the first half of the 2003 calendar year, equal to the total drilled in the whole of 2002," said Mr. Tinapple. "Add to that the total committed oil and gas exploration expenditure of $1.4 billion, and 171 exploration wells over the next five years, and we have a strong foundation for continued growth and development in WA."