A look at Western Australia
Western Australia’s petroleum sector includes crude oil, condensate, liquefied natural gas (LNG), natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). The value of petroleum products produced in state areas (onshore and offshore), and in adjacent Commonwealth offshore areas, amounted to $19.1 billion in 2016-17.
Western Australia remains the nation’s premier petroleum producer, accounting for 50 per cent of gas production (including natural gas, coal seam methane and LNG feedstock), 61 per cent of crude oil production and 76 per cent of condensate production. In total, Western Australian produced just over half (52 per cent) of the nation’s total petroleum output in energy equivalence terms in 2016.
The Carnarvon basin is home to the North West Shelf Venture’s LNG project. The facility has an LNG export capacity of 16.3 million tonnes a year and produces gas for Western Australia’s domestic market and condensate and oil for export.
The Pluto/Xena gas field which supports the 4.3 million tonnes per year Pluto LNG project is also located in the Carnarvon Basis, as are the gas fields that support the Gorgon and Wheatstone LNG projects. LNG is the State’s highest value petroleum product and for information about WA’s LNG sector view the departments Natural gas - LNG webpage.
A number of oil fields are also located in the Carnarvon Basin, including Vincent, Pyrenees, Okha and Mutineer-Exeter. Oil production from the basin accounts for around 60 per cent of Australia’s total oil production.
Western Australia accounts for about 70 per cent of the nation’s crude oil and condensate production. The State’s major crude oil producers operate in the Carnarvon, Perth and Canning Basins and include BHP Billiton, Woodside, Quadrant Energy, Vermilion Energy, Santos and Roc Oil.
Production of crude oil, the second most valuable petroleum product in 2016-17, was 5.4 million kilolitres (34 million barrels), and was valued at $2.1 billion.
Petroleum and its associated products have shaped the world for more than a century. As a transportation fuel, a lubricant, a source of energy for electricity generation, or as a feedstock for chemicals, plastics and synthetic materials, petroleum products are indispensable and ubiquitous in the modern world.
Crude oil is a naturally occurring petroleum product that can be refined to produce gasoline, diesel and petrochemicals. Although it is often called ‘black gold’, crude oil can appear in various shades of black, brown or yellow.
Condensate is a by-product from natural gas fields and is used in high-octane petrol, diesel and boiler fuels, as well as plastics, synthetic rubbers, fibres and resins.
Natural gas is a mix of light hydrocarbons (primarily methane). Highly flammable, gas is used for cooking, heating, and as a relatively low carbon fuel in electricity generation and transportation. It is also a key feedstock for plastic and chemical manufacture.
Australia had approximately four billion barrels (546 million tonnes) of known oil reserves at the end of 2015, representing about 0.2 per cent of world reserves. In 2016, Australia produced an average of 359 thousand barrels of crude oil and condensate per day, representing 0.38% of global production. Western Australia accounted for just over 70% of that production.
More detailed information about the performance of WA’s petroleum sector, and other commodities, can be found in the Western Australian Mineral and Petroleum Statistics Digest or in the latest resource data files.