speech AOG energy 2024 keynote address

Danny WoodallDanny Woodall

Danny Woodall - Operations Director, Chevron Australia  
AOG Energy 2024 Conference and Exhibition

13 March 2024


Good morning.  It’s great to be here with you all today.

I would like to start by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land we meet on today; the Whad-juk 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 here today, and to those on whose lands Chevron operates.

I would also like to acknowledge the Honourable Reece Whitby MLA, Minister for Energy; Environment; Climate Action, and my fellow speaker this morning, Liz Westcott from Woodside.

Thank you to AOG Energy for once again facilitating this conference, which always provides an important opportunity for our industry to connect and collaborate, and for the chance to speak with you all today.

It’s great to see so many industry colleagues, business partners and government representatives in the room.

I have little doubt that those of you in the audience today understand and appreciate the vital role that natural gas plays – and will continue to play - in ensuring energy security not only for Western Australia, but for the entire country and the Asia Pacific region.

But it’s not only about energy security, natural gas is also playing a critical role in the energy transition by providing firming power for renewables and replacing coal-fired power generation as coal assets are retired.

Currently, WA is the largest consumer of gas of any state or territory in the country – consuming almost as much gas as Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria combined.

Given its vital role, it’s not surprising that the demand for gas is increasing.

Late last year, the Australian Energy Market Operator released its annual WA Gas Statement of Opportunities and forecast the overall demand for WA domestic gas to grow at an annual rate of 2.2% from now until 2033.

AEMO also forecast that the demand for gas generation of electricity in the South-West Interconnected System will grow at an annual rate of 5.8%.

Importantly, the Gas Statement of Opportunities has for several years reinforced a view long held by the gas industry – new gas supply is needed to meet forecast demand.

The rising demand for gas, and the need for new supply, is occurring against the backdrop of increasing community expectations to meet the challenges of climate change and a shifting regulatory environment.

Our industry must respond to meet the energy needs of our communities and customers now, and for decades to come, while contributing to a lower carbon future.

Throughout Chevron’s more than 70-year history in Australia we’ve proven our ability to evolve as the industry has evolved, and to change as the needs of the communities we operate in change.

I see the current challenges we face as an opportunity to prove, yet again, our ability to evolve and change.

As Winston Churchill once said, “Difficulties mastered are opportunities won.”

We find ourselves in that position today......and I have confidence that Chevron and our industry have the people, the experience, and the capability to continue supplying reliable, affordable energy for WA and the broader region while supporting the energy transition.

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

These facilities not only provide LNG to our international customers – supporting energy security for our entire region – they also have capacity to produce up to 515 terajoules of domestic gas a day and currently provide more than 45 per cent of the state’s domestic gas supply, enough to generate electricity for 4.3 million households.

As a major supplier of gas for WA’s domestic market, and commitment holder under the State’s Domestic Gas Policy, we hold ourselves to the highest standard.

Our domestic gas facilities consistently operate at, or very near to, full production capacity – providing reliable and sustained domestic gas that helps underpin the state’s energy security.

In fact, last year we achieved record domestic gas production across the two facilities.

Further, following a successful trial to boost production, the official nameplate capacity of the Wheatstone domestic gas plant was increased in August last year from 205 to 215 terajoules per day – a boost of about 5 per cent.

Another trial to further increase the domestic gas capacity at Wheatstone is currently in progress and looking promising.

We will continue to meet our domestic gas obligations and recognise the significant role we play in providing domestic gas to our customers to meet the energy needs of the state.

To support WA’s current and future energy needs, Chevron is continuing to invest in projects to maintain reliable gas supply.

Last year, we achieved first gas production from Gorgon Stage Two, a project that added 11 new wells and subsea infrastructure in the Gorgon and Jansz offshore fields.

We also commenced fabrication on the $6 billion Jansz-Io compression project.

We’re looking forward to some of the major fabrication work, occurring at Henderson, coming to completion later this year.

Both Gorgon Stage Two and Jansz Io Compression will help ensure the Gorgon natural gas facility on Barrow Island remains full over the coming decades. 

Investments like these are helping to ensure we can support the continued growth of the WA economy and, importantly, deliver gas to the domestic market during a tight supply-demand period forecast from now until 2029.

At the same time, we’re also striving to reduce the carbon emissions intensity of our operations including through solutions like carbon capture and storage, or CCS.

There is broad consensus among experts that it’s impossible to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 without scaled deployment of carbon dioxide removal technologies like CCS.

The carbon capture and storage system at Gorgon is the world’s largest CCS project dedicated to carbon abatement and to date has safely stored more than 9 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, demonstrating the meaningful contribution CCS can play in advancing a lower carbon future.

The project has been safely storing carbon dioxide at a globally significant scale and, while it has not been without challenges, we know that the technology works and can work at scale.

We also hope that our future investments will provide WA businesses the opportunity to further demonstrate their capability on lower carbon projects, which represents a massive opportunity for local industry going forward.

So, as we invest in natural gas projects, we’ll also continue striving to lower the carbon intensity of our operations.

Industry, together with governments and the community, face the shared challenge of addressing climate change.

All of you here today understand the vital role of natural gas in providing energy security, enabling economic development, and supporting the energy transition.

We can all play a part in building that understanding across the broader community, and in better articulating our aim – and our efforts – to meet the energy demands of a growing world in a lower carbon way.

No one company, no one industry, no one country acting alone can meet the world’s energy and climate goals.

Now is the time for us all to work together – industry, government and community - leveraging our strengths to find workable solutions for shared challenges and achieving our shared goal of a brighter future.

Remember that “difficulties mastered are opportunities won.”

Thank you.