The Australian oil and gas sector is rebounding and is about to receive a further boost from government, Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan told the opening session of the Australasian Oil and Gas Exhibition and Conference (AOG) in Perth.

McGowan told the AOG 2018 Collaboration Forum that his government was developing an LNG Jobs Taskforce.

He told AOG delegates that the taskforce will be made up of members from both industry and government and will aim to establish Western Australia as a key regional LNG hub.

The Premier said the taskforce will look to build on the job opportunities the LNG industry can provide in the WA community, including new technology, education and maintenance services.

“WA jobs are my number one priority, and the creation of this jobs taskforce will make sure we build on our existing LNG industry to create more long-term local jobs,” McGowan said.

“Australia is set to have the world’s largest LNG export capacity by mid-2018, surpassing Qatar, so now is the time for our State to act and become a global hub.

“As we build on our existing LNG operations, courses could be provided by education and training providers that align with the needs of industry, ensuring young Western Australians get the skills required for future job opportunities.

“Oil and gas projects help drive our economy, generating jobs in the industry and revenue with flow-on effects to the rest of the economy,” the Premier told the AOG audience.

Meanwhile, Miranda Taylor, CEO of National Energy Resources Australia (NERA), told an AOG Media Breakfast gathering that the organization was currently involved in a national project pipeline of 32 industry supporting activities carrying a total investment of more than $24 million.

She also revealed that NERA is launching a suite of new collaboration projects including:

  • A Living Lab Subsea Test Structure to assess subsea equipment design in Australia’s challenging offshore warm water environment;
  • A Subsea Innovation Cluster bringing together Australian operators, service companies and research institutions to address challenges specific to the Australian oil and gas subsea industry; and
  • A market leading subsea in-water hull cleaning tool to enable simultaneous in-water cleaning and inspection/survey of subsea oil and gas infrastructure.

Other developments include an Alpha beta study into Transitioning Workforce Skills for a digital and automation future; and an Energy Literacy National Framework.

Deloitte Australia’s oil and gas leader, Bernadette Cullinane, told the AOG Media Breakfast audience that signs that the industry's confidence is turning around is becoming clearly visible, but that the local oil and gas sector will have to work hard to ensure it takes advantage of the opportunities.

She told the media gathering that the lengthy oil and gas price downturn had created a local industry that was leaner and more resilient—adding however, that it needed to maintain that discipline.

“Our Australian LNG sector will soon take the crown as the largest in the world," Cullinane said.

"The industry is becoming more global, digital, diverse and decentralized, while the energy mix for Australia and Asia-Pacific is shifting to lower carbon fuels.

“With such rapid change, it is important for operators and services companies to look to the future and be prepared for the energy transition that is coming around the corner,” Cullinane said.

The 37th AOG Exhibition and Conference is being staged at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre from March 14 to 16.