Australia’s Border Protection Commander said Wednesday the Royal Australian Navy is stepping up its role in helping protect the offshore oil and gas industry under Tony Abbott’s new  federal government.

Rear Admiral David Johnston described what he called “a significant investment in the offshore oil and gas industry, right across the north-west of Australia.”

He didn’t identify any specific threats to the offshore oil and gas facilities.

In September, conservative-leaning Abbott was elected Prime Minister  after campaigning on a promise to end the controversial carbon tax.

The carbon tax has been a drag on Australia’s oil and gas industry.

In April, local producer Santos Ltd. suffered an earnings hit after it paid US$32.6 million in carbon-related costs for the half-year period as part of a total tax bill of US$173.8 million.

Australia produced 484,000 barrels of crude or equivalents per day (bbl/d) in 2012, of which half was crude oil and a quarter was condensates, followed by liquified petroleum gas.

Production peaked in 2000 at 828,000 bbl/d and has declined since then, due mainly to maturation of the fields.

Rear Admiral Johnston said oil and gas “is an important national resource for us and it is an important border role that the Navy performs in working around those areas, ensuring we understand what is occurring and where we need to provide security.”


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