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APPEA supports Govt Retention Lease Paper on oil & gas exploration

APPEA, the peak industry body representing Australia’s oil and gas exploration industry, has welcomed the release by the Minister for Energy and Resources, Martin Ferguson, of a discussion paper on retention leases.

APPEA (Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association) chief executive, Belinda Robinson, said the retention lease framework is of critical importance to the maintenance and growth of a robust and sustainable domestic oil and gas sector.

A retention lease enables the holder to have exploration rights in the area, and is designed to effectively protect the holder from overseas competition.

The industry acknowledges the Government’s recognition of the need to take account of commercial imperatives and the need to efficiently develop Australia’s oil and gas resources, according to APPEA.

“The industry does not see these as mutually exclusive and looks forward to addressing the issues raised, and proposals made, in the discussion paper,” said Robinson.

Robinson said that it is important to ensure any changes to the existing provisions will have a positive impact on petroleum exploration and production in Australia and recognises the very substantial investments made by permittees and lessees.

The industry particularly welcomes the Minister’s comment that ‘the Commonwealth has an obligation to unlock the wealth of Australia’s vast petroleum resources for the benefit of all Australians’, Robinson said.

“The retention lease framework is one part of delivering on this obligation” she said.

“The Henry Review on Taxation, the Energy White Paper and the design of Australia’s emissions trading scheme are at least as critical to realising the full potential of Australia’s oil and gas capability.”

The Australian natural gas industry has $200 billion worth of projects on the drawing board that have the potential to deliver 52,000 jobs and $10 billion per year in tax revenue, APPEA said at its oil and gas conference in Darwin last week.

When substituted for coal in electricity generation, the natural gas produced from these projects will see 180 million tonnes per year of greenhouse gas emissions avoided each year, APPEA said.

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