Below The Seabed –
The History of Offshore Oil and Gas Production


In Australia, the first oil well was drilled in Albany Harbour, Western Australia in 1907. Major development of the industry, however, came in the1970s when massive gas and condensate (light crude oil) discoveries were made off the North-west coast of Western Australia. Presently, there are 15 active petroleum projects on the Northern Carnarvon, Browse and Bonaparte Basins. The Western Australian petroleum industry is the largest contributor to Australia's production of petroleum products with a value of $21.3 billion for the nation’s economy.

Australia is now a considerable exporter of LNG (the world’s fourth largest producer) but its liquid petroleum production peaked in 2000 and has since been declining. In 2009 Australia imported about 360,000 bbl/day of oil – around 40% of domestic consumption. Natural Gas production reached 1.5 Tcf in 2009, with an upward trend in production. Natural Gas also produces significantly lower emissions than both oil and coal, and can has successfully been shown to power heavy duty vehicles.

Thus there is a considerable potential for natural gas to be used to both provide energy, and assist Australia transition to a lower emissions future.

Resources and further information: – Australian Energy Resource Assessment – Chapter 1 - Executive Summary PDF [770KB] – Chapter 3 - Oil PDF [5MB] – Petroleum Resources – Energy in Australia PDF [2.4MB]