Industry call for Australia to ‘unlock wealth’ of new oil and gas fields at odds with IEA warning

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Fossil substance representatives person joined the Morrison authorities successful rejecting technological warnings that nary caller lipid and state fields should beryllium opened if the satellite is to woody with the clime crisis, with a nationalist league proceeding Australia should beryllium “smart enough” to backmost continued expansion.

Increased state and lipid proviso was “absolutely portion of the solution” to decarbonising the economy, the yearly league of state manufacture radical the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (Appea) was told.

The propulsion to unfastened caller fossil substance basins successful Australia, which has had enactment from some large parties, is astatine likelihood with a informing by the International Energy Agency that no caller lipid oregon state fields oregon coalmines should beryllium developed if the satellite was to support live a accidental of limiting planetary heating to 1.5C, a extremity agreed astatine planetary clime meetings.

The caput of the IEA, Fatih Birol, reiterated the constituent past week, saying caller lipid and state fields would person small interaction connected the vigor situation triggered by Russia’s penetration of Ukraine, would instrumentality years to spell up and would fastener successful fossil substance usage and precocious greenhouse state emissions for decades.

Birol suggested enlargement of existing fields could beryllium justified, but said caller developments could go stranded assets if the satellite succeeded successful moving to nett zero and the momentum for a displacement to cleanable vigor had ne'er been greater. He was responding to a Guardian investigation that recovered fossil substance companies, including immoderate successful Australia, were readying “carbon bomb” projects that would thrust the globe to catastrophic heating levels.

A peer-reviewed survey published connected Tuesday suggested that, successful summation to caller developments not going ahead, astir fractional of existing fossil substance accumulation sites would request to beryllium unopen aboriginal if the 1.5C extremity was to stay viable.

A spokesperson for the Morrison authorities said the Coalition remained “strongly committed to a gas-led recovery”. They said the authorities was supporting measures to unfastened up the Beetaloo Basin successful the Northern Territory, and much lipid proviso was the “best mode to trim prices successful the agelong term”.

“Companies similar Woodside and Santos are committing billions of dollars to caller state projects successful Australia, which demonstrates the industry’s assurance successful its semipermanent future,” helium said.

Labor did not respond to questions earlier publication.

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Ian Davies, Appea’s seat and the main enforcement of lipid and state institution Senex Energy, told the state league that IEA nett zero scenarios suggested lipid and state would inactive beryllium utilized successful 2050, and indispensable beryllium “absolutely portion of the solution” to decarbonisation. But helium said being capable to seizure and store c dioxide astatine a monolithic standard would person to play a cardinal relation if the manufacture was to beryllium a portion of a planetary decarbonisation.

Davies described c capture, usage and retention (CCUS) – usually involving capturing emissions and burying them underground – arsenic “a proven technology”, and said Australia was location to the biggest task successful the world, Chevron’s Gorgon improvement successful the Pilbara. It started cognition successful 2019 and has buried 6m tonnes of emissions.

The league heard determination were astir 30 CCUS projects crossed the globe. Santos had begun enactment connected a “world-scale” CCUS task astatine Moomba successful South Australia that would hide 1.7m tonnes a year, and ExxonMobil buried 9m tonnes annually crossed the globe.

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Photograph: Tim Robberts/Stone RF

Opponents accidental CCUS is not economically viable astatine standard contempt receiving billions of dollars successful committed nationalist support, including much than $400m from the Morrison government. Global emissions from vigor usage past twelvemonth were 36.3bn tonnes.

Davies said: “The information is determination are proven examples of CCUS, and that information matters.”

He said alternatively than proceed arsenic a nett importer of lipid products, Australia should “achieve lipid security” by encouraging concern successful caller developments specified arsenic Santos’s connection to unfastened the Bedout Basin successful Western Australia and expanding “existing basins wherever possible”.

“Will we beryllium astute capable to unlock the wealthiness successful enactment of our ain home industries and to make export income for our nation?” helium asked the conference, being held successful Brisbane with a slogan of “positive vigor for a changing world”.

Guardian Australia asked Australia’s biggest state companies for their effect to the IEA’s connection connected the improvement of caller state fields. Santos declined to comment.

A spokesperson for Woodside argued its $16bn Scarborough development was an existing state field, and not a caller development, arsenic it had already been discovered. The institution announced past twelvemonth it had made a last concern determination to make the tract 375km disconnected the Pilbara seashore and expected to commencement accumulation successful 2026.

The spokesperson said Woodside had a people of reducing its emissions by 30% by 2030, successful portion by relying connected c offsets, and an “aspiration” of reaching nett zero emissions by 2050 oregon sooner.

“Woodside sees an important relation for Scarborough state successful the vigor transition,” the spokesperson said.

Gas is often described arsenic having astir fractional the emissions of ember erstwhile burned, but planetary studies person recovered the existent fig tin beryllium higher owed to leaks during extraction and transport.

The resources minister, Keith Pitt, and Labor’s shadiness resources minister, Madeleine King, were owed to code the Appea league by video connected Wednesday and Thursday respectively.

The Greens leader, Adam Bandt, joined clime protesters extracurricular the league connected Tuesday. He called connected the adjacent authorities to articulation a pledge to chopped emissions of methane – a potent greenhouse state released during state extraction – by 30% by 2030. “Gas is arsenic soiled arsenic ember and toxic methane is simply a clime weaponry exploding successful our backyard,” helium said.

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