As countries across the world announce goals to reach carbon neutrality in the coming decades, the Australian oil and gas industry will play a key role in this transition to cleaner energy according to the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association’s (APPEA) 2020 Climate Change Policy Principles report.
The report said that Australia’s approach to climate policy should be consistent across the nation, align with the objectives of the Paris Agreement, and support environmental objectives and industries that provide jobs and economic growth.
The report outlined four key principles to guide Australia’s climate change policies:
Net-zero emissions by 2050 should be the goal of national and international policy.
Climate policies should be efficient, enduring, and integrated with economic, social, technology, and energy policies.
Australia’s international competitiveness should be enhanced.
Universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy must be achieved.
The report said natural gas would be integral to achieving a low-carbon economy.
“Australia generates significant national economic, environmental and social benefits through the use of its substantial natural gas resources,” it said.
“Using more natural gas in Australia’s power generation and resource processing would enhance the nation’s ability to meet increasing energy needs and reduce emissions.”
According to the report, natural gas will also play a key role in ensuring energy stability throughout the transition.
“Intermittent renewable energy requires ‘on call’ electricity generation to manage falls in renewable output or peaks in demand,” the report said.
“Gas-fired generation is a key technology capable of delivering that flexible response.”
The International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Global Gas and LNG: 5 things to look for in 2021 report said that 75 per cent of today’s LNG demand is from countries with carbon-neutral goals such as Japan, South Korea, and Canada (2050) and China (2060).
The report said that as a result of these goals, long-term gas demand growth will be at risk if net-zero targets are to be achieved.
“However, the resilience of gas in the energy mix will depend upon the pathways adopted to achieve net-zero targets,” the report said.
It predicted that Asian and European policies would support gas demand in the medium term.
APPEA Chief Executive Andrew McConville said the oil and gas industry’s innovative technology will help Australia’s transition to cleaner energy.
“As a global energy leader, Australia is at the forefront of technology innovation in exploration, development, production, processing, and environmental management of our resources,” Mr McConville said
“Australia’s oil and gas industry is already advancing and commercialising technologies such as carbon capture and storage and hydrogen that can accelerate the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions both in Australia and overseas.
“Based on the capability and competitiveness of our resources and energy sectors, resources technology is a manufacturing area that has untapped potential – particularly in emissions reduction technologies.”
Australia’s former Chief Scientist, Dr Alan Finkel AO, was appointed to serve in the newly created role of Special Advisor to the Australian Government for Low Emissions Technology to support Australia’s transition.
Dr Finkel will conduct strategic engagements in support of the Government’s technology-led approach to reducing emissions.
The role will involve sharing Australia’s National Hydrogen Strategy’s vision of Australia as a major global player and promoting hydrogen and other low emissions technologies via all levels of government.