Environment and Communications References Committee
Exploration General Manager
Chevron Australia Opening Statement
I know the committee’s time is limited so I will keep my opening comments brief.
Chevron remains committed to its exploration program in the Bight; and is committed to doing it in a safe and responsible manner.
Two seasons of seismic surveys, which were the largest surveys ever undertaken in Australia, were completed safely. They provide early but promising evidence that the Bight represents a tremendous opportunity for Australia and South Australia in particular, of a scale possibly akin to Bass Strait or the North West Shelf.
Our next step is to drill to determine the extent and nature of the potential resource. Working on this task, we have one of the most successful exploration teams in the world, which has made over 25 new discoveries in Western Australia since 2009 with a success rate of nearly 90%.
In our permit work commitments, we are scheduled to start four exploration wells in late 2017 at the earliest. Given recent developments, we are in discussions with the Regulator to likely commence exploration drilling in 2018. The extension is simply to allow for more time to complete the analysis of the seismic data, undertake extra work to optimally locate well locations, prepare our Environment Plan and undertake stakeholder engagement.
We have commenced our Environment Plan and have had preliminary engagement with some government and community stakeholders. Early next year we will formally commence stakeholder engagement before lodging the Environment Plan with NOPSEMA. We welcome NOPSEMA’s regulatory regime. It adds independence and rigour to the process.
If you look at our record around Australia and the world, we have extensive experience in deepwater exploration, drilling in extreme conditions and remote locations. We were the first operator allowed to resume drilling in the Gulf of Mexico after Macondo incident and recently drilled wells in deepwater far offshore of Newfoundland, which is analogous to the Bight.
In Australia, since our first year of deepwater exploration in 1987, we have drilled more than 80 wells off Western Australia without a single Loss of Well Control incident. That is 80 wells we have drilled successfully and safely with no impact on the environment. Of the 33 wells we have drilled in Australia since NOPSEMA’s commencement in 2012, we have drilled 19 wells in deep water at water depths greater than 1,000m.
Chevron prides itself on the work we have done on Barrow Island, a Class A nature reserve off WA. We have produced over 330 million barrels of oil there over the last 50 years and it is now the site of the Gorgon LNG project which is in production. We have invested more than $80 billion in projects in WA and have won national and international awards for the protection of WA’s unique biodiversity.
Industry and the environment can and do coexist - we have the skills, experience and capacity to prove this in the Bight. We are happy to take your questions.