22/02/2016 - 14:34

WA seeks to partner with EU

22/02/2016 - 14:34

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The state government has signalled its intentions to proactively support Western Australian companies interested in growing energy commodity exports to Europe and participating in European Union activities.

WA seeks to partner with EU
Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Marmion says a WA partnership with the EU has the potential to increase investment and job creation in both regions. Photo: Attila Csaszar

The state government has signalled its intentions to proactively support Western Australian companies interested in growing energy commodity exports to Europe and participating in European Union activities.

In a speech at the inaugural European Australian Business Council ministerial breakfast today, Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Marmion and Commerce Minister Michael Mischin said they expected WA would play a much larger role in supporting Europe’s energy security.

Mr Marmion and Mr Mischin said strengthening the state’s ties with the European Energy Union, which aims to ensure Europe has secure, affordable and climate-friendly energy, could create jobs in WA and abroad.

It’s understood WA’s involvement with the EEU will be to promote export opportunities for local companies producing liquefied natural gas as well as uranium, when WA’s uranium mines receive all approvals and economic conditions make their operations viable.   

The state will also seek to forge collaborations between European players and companies operating locally that have experience building and operating in class-A nature reserves.

By strengthening links and trade opportunities, it’s hoped companies in WA can capitalise on their experience working in environmentally senstitive conditions to tender for European pipelines to be built across similarly challenging environments.

The state’s announcement comes as the Australian government begins preliminary negotiations with the EU on a potential free trade agreement.

Mr Marmion said many people didn’t know EU was Australia’s largest investment partner, with investments that exceeding those made by the US and Japan in Australia by $201 billion and $784 billion per year in 2014 respectively.

Compared with China’s investment in Australia of $64.5 billion in 2014, EU’s total investment in eclipsed it 15 times over with a total $959 billion invested.

European-based companies invested in WA include BP, Shell and Total via equity stakes in the North West Shelf, Prelude, Gorgon, Ichthys and Browse LNG projects.

WA leads the way when it comes to producing the nation’s LNG, but most of Australia’s LNG is currently exported to Japan, South Korea and China.

Mr Marmion said there was an opportunity to increase the export of WA’s LNG, and eventually uranium, to help power Europe and the rest of the world.

“Speaking on behalf of the government of Western Australia, I look forward to an energy partnership between WA and the EU that is strengthened by removing trade barriers, expanding investment ties, and strengthening regulatory cooperation,” he said.

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