speech CEDA: the future of gas in WA speaker address

Danny Woodall at CEDADanny Woodall at CEDA

Danny Woodall - Operations Director, Chevron Australia  
CEDA: the future of gas in WA

28 August 2023


Good afternoon.  I’m very pleased to be here. 

I too would like to begin by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land we meet on today, the Whadjuk people of the Noongar nation, and pay my respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging.

I extend that respect to all First Nations people whose land our Wheatstone and Gorgon projects operates on.  

I would also like to acknowledge the Minister, the Honourable Bill Johnston, and my fellow speakers, Liz Westcott and Vanessa Torres. And I would like to thank CEDA for putting on this event.  It’s great to see so many people here this afternoon. 

At Chevron, we understand and appreciate the important role we play in ensuring Western Australia’s energy security.

Today, we’re one of the largest investors in Australia and proudly operate two of the largest resource projects in the country, the Gorgon and Wheatstone natural gas projects. 

These projects not only provide LNG to our international customers – supporting energy security for our entire region – they also support the development of Western Australia’s economy, having the capacity to produce up to 515 terajoules of domestic gas a day.

That’s almost 50 percent of the state’s current domestic gas supply and enough to generate electricity for 4.3 million households.

It’s fair to say that Western Australia’s gas industry is under the spotlight right now – and has been for some time.

The industry is at the centre of discussions on how we, as a community, are to meet the challenges of climate change while continuing to maintain the state’s energy security. 

All this is occurring against the backdrop of increased ESG considerations for our operations. 

So when I’ve reflected on the talk for today, while there are many challenges, I feel optimistic.  

I’m optimistic because we’re having important discussions which will shape the future of our industry and, consequently, the security of our energy supply.

These discussions are making us ask, how, as gas producers, we can contribute in a lower carbon economy while meeting the energy needs of our communities and customers, now and in 2030, in 2040, into 2050 and beyond.

In our view, to achieve our goals and ensure we’re able to deliver the energy that this State, this region and the world needs, the dialogue we’re having must be a balanced one.

We must acknowledge the priorities of reliable, affordable, and ever cleaner to create a future energy system that works for all people.

WA’s current energy system has been underpinned by significant investments in the past – and to support our future, we need to continue investing. And at Chevron, we are continuing to do just that. 

A few months ago we achieved first gas production in our Gorgon Stage Two development. Fabrication is also underway on the six-billion-dollar Jansz-Io Compression Project which will maintain production from the Jansz-Io field. 

These investments will help deliver a steady supply of gas to our facilities on Barrow Island, home to the Gorgon LNG and domestic gas plants. 

Critically for Western Australia, the domestic gas plants at both Gorgon and Wheatstone, near Onslow, are consistently operating at or very near full capacity. Gorgon, in particular, has delivered more domestic gas than any other facility in Western Australia over the past 12 months.

At Wheatstone, we announced just last week that following a successful trial to boost production, the official nameplate capacity of its domestic gas plant will increase from 205 to 215 terajoules per day – an increase of about 5 per cent. And we’ll continue to explore opportunities at Wheatstone that could increase domestic gas capacity even further.

This increase, while incremental, will benefit communities and industries alike.

Currently, WA is by far the biggest consumer of gas of any state or territory in Australia, consuming almost as much gas as Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria combined, and that consumption is set to increase.  

The Australian Energy Market Operator says overall WA domestic gas demand is forecast to grow at an annual rate of 1.7 percent for years to come. Another AEMO report released earlier this month found that natural gas will play a key role in electricity generation in WA well into the 2040s. 

Clearly, these forecasts show that the future of gas in Western Australia is closely linked to the future of the state. If this industry thrives, this state thrives.

Given the important role gas will continue to play, it’s critical to focus our attention on maintaining existing supply from operating facilities which require continued investment.

Equally, increasing the diversity of supply sources, including through new gas developments, will enhance the state’s energy security. Supportive policy and regulatory settings are key to achieving these complementary objectives.

For Chevron, our goal in Australia is to be a leader in producing lower carbon intensity natural gas that both industry and communities rely on each and every day. At the same time, we’re exploring lower-carbon energy businesses to help major industries like heavy transportation and manufacturing achieve their lower carbon goals. This includes solutions such as carbon capture and storage, and hydrogen.

We believe this is the best way to leverage our strengths to meet today’s energy demand in lower carbon ways while helping to build the lower carbon energy system of the future. 

No one company, no one industry, no one country acting alone can meet the world’s energy and climate goals. In partnership with our customers and our stakeholders, our industry can play a major role in delivering progress.

At the centre of this progress is people. Solutions start with problem solving, which is exactly what the people of Chevron do – and what we have excelled at for decades. 

Since I’ve been in WA over the past year, I’ve seen this on display at Chevron as well as our peers. 

The lower carbon challenge is significant. But we have the commitment and people with the skills and talent needed to find solutions that will enable the future success of the industry and the state.

Thank you.