Bight oil drilling could be 'game changer'

New projects in the Great Australian Bight could produce up to six billion barrels of oil over the next 40 years, new modelling shows.

The Great Australian Bight

Drilling oil from the Great Australian Bight could produce six billion barrels of oil over 40 years. (AAP)

Large-scale oil projects in the Great Australian Bight could produce six billion barrels of oil by 2060, new modelling suggests.

New projects could generate billions in tax revenue for the federal and South Australian governments and create up to 1500 jobs a year over 40 years.

The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association has examined two development scenarios, costing between $70 million and $170 million.

APPEA director Matthew Doman said there were potential significant long-term benefits both for the state and the nation.

"The Bight could become a game-changer for South Australia, attracting investment, creating employment and delivering new revenue," he said.

The base scenario involves three new projects being developed off the Great Australian Bight, producing an additional 1.9 million barrels of oil, at a rate of 62 million barrels a year between 2032 and 2054.

Australia is currently producing at a rate of 122 million barrels, down from a peak of 287 million in 2000.

That model could create 1360 jobs in South Australia during development and construction and 800 a year during the operational phase.

The high-case scenario would involve four new plants producing 199 million barrels a year, creating more than 2000 jobs during construction and 1500 a year during operations.

Environmental approvals would be obtained and the community would be consulted extensively before any project would proceed, Mr Doman said.

The report comes after Resources Minister Matt Canavan revealed drilling oil from the Bight could make Australia self-sufficient again.

"It really is seen as perhaps the richest off-shore opportunity in this space," he told Adelaide radio 5AA.

Labor's energy spokesman Mark Butler hadn't seen the latest modelling but his party had supported substantial inquiries into proposals in the past.

"Those goal posts have changed as different companies have taken the view to pull their plans out ... there are very strong environmental protection laws in place so until those have worked their way through I wouldn't want to be definitive about that," Mr Butler told reporters in Adelaide.

Published 6 August 2018 at 1:00pm
Source: AAP