Petroleum

A look at Western Australia

The most common use of petroleum is as fuel.
The most common use of petroleum is as fuel.

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 $18.4 billion in 2015-16.

Western Australia remains the nation’s premier petroleum producer, accounting for 52 per cent of gas production (including natural gas, coal seam methane and LNG feedstock), 66 per cent of crude oil production and 71 per cent of condensate production. In total, Western Australian produced just over half (52 per cent) of the nation’s total petroleum output.

LNG was Western Australia’s most valuable petroleum product, accounting for 59 per cent of total petroleum sales in 2015-16.  LNG is currently produced from the North West Shelf Joint Venture project, Woodside’s Pluto project, commissioned in mid-2012, and the Gorgon Gas project, which shipped its first LNG in 2016. Western Australia is also home to Shell’s Prelude Floating LNG Project.

Production of crude oil, the second most valuable petroleum product in 2015-16 was 7.76 million kilolitres (48 million barrels). Falling crude oil prices meant that sales values dropped from $4.6 billion in 2014-15 to $3 billion in 2015-16.

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.

Nearly all the condensate in Western Australia is located on the North West Shelf.

Uses

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.

Across the globe

LNG is Australia’s (and Western Australia’s) most significant petroleum export. Australia exported 29 million tonnes of LNG in 2015 (12 per cent of global exports), second only to Qatar, which exported 77.6 million (31 percent). Australia’s LNG is expected to continue to grow rapidly in the next several years, potentially overtaking Qatar before the end of the decade, with predicted export capacity in excess of 85 million tonnes

Australia had approximately 3,490 million barrels (442 million tonnes) of known oil reserves at the end of 2015, representing  about 0.2 per cent of world reserves. In 2015, Australia produced an average of 322 thousand barrels of crude oil and condensate per day, representing 0.4% of global production. Western Australia accounted for just over 80% of that production.

Crude_Oil graph
Crude oil value figures
Crude_Oil infographic
Crude oil and petroleum sales
Petroleum infographic
2014-15 Stats Digest: Petroleum exports pie graph for 2014-15

Quarter

Quantity

Value

Mar-14

3.44

2650.55

Jun-14

2.82

2104.37

Sep-14

3.68

2486.58

Dec-14

4.08

2390.33

Mar-15

3.60

1514.73

Jun-15

3.24

1590.25

Sep-15

4.32

1800.20

Dec-15

3.81

1332.10

Mar-16

3.32

1058.04

Jun-16

3.01

1250.16