This week in wa – 10 years ago

Oil and gas fights for future The competitiveness of Australia’s oil exploration industry was threatened by high taxes and concern about security of land title, according to the Australian Petroleum Exploration Association, this week 10 years ago. APEA chairman Peter Power told media at the association’s 35th annual briefing that Australia had to ensure its petroleum sector remained attractive as more countries than ever were actively seeking investment. Mr Power said the tax burden on Australia’s oil and gas industry was immense, with the government continuing to take more in tax than the industry took in profit. But a new exploration focus in Australia was needed if good times were to continue according to the Petroleum Exploration Society of Australia. Lloyd Taylor, general manager for exploration at Santos who also addressed the conference stated that in the longer term, a broadening and shifting of the exploration focus was essential if major new hydrocarbon reserves were to continue to be found. Mr Taylor said speculation suggested reserves in the Timor Gap, area could exceed 200 million barrels. A number of oil developments were planned to mid-1998. In WA these included the Broken Hill Proprietary-operated Griffin field, Woodside Petroleum’s Wanea, Wapet Pty’s Roller Skate, and Amploex’s Wandoo field. Gas developments on the cards were Woodside’s Goodwyn scheme and Western Mining Holdings’ East Spar in the Carnarvon Basin. The exploration focus coincided with news that WA would seek applications from companies for six more oil exploration permits located offshore. Meanwhile, the Robe River iron ore venture said it had shipped 27.24 million tonnes of ore from its port at Cape Lambert in the year to March 31 – the best performance since it began operations in 1972. And an aluminium jet boat that slipped its moorings at Ledge Point six months earlier, washed up on a beach in Mozambique, 8,000km away, without a scratch. The $50,000 boat was recognised by an Australian tourist who, by remarkable coincidence, knew the owner, a retired fisherman by the name of Denis Bennets.

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