The Australian natural gas industry is responding to the personnel and operational challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure vital energy supplies are maintained.
The Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA) and Australian Pipelines and Gas Association (APGA) are working with members, governments and energy users to ensure the delivery of essential gas supply to local customers.
APPEA Chief Executive Andrew McConville and AGPA Chief Executive Officer Steve Davies confirmed members were taking all steps necessary to ensure the production and delivery of gas supplies continued.
“Our industry provides vital energy resources to millions of Australian homes, businesses and public facilities,” Mr McConville said. “It’s essential we continue to do so and, accordingly, we are treating the operational challenges posed by COVID-19 very seriously.”
Mr Davies said the upstream and pipeline industries had robust operational integrity measures in place at all times, but were vigilant to the additional challenges posed by COVID-19.
“We are ensuring good information flows and open channels of communication as they are absolutely essential elements of the response in this rapidly changing situation,” Mr Davies said.
“We are continuously monitoring the situation and are taking appropriate precautions to ensure the energy we need in our homes, commerce and industry is delivered.”
These precautions have included:
- Protecting personnel through sanitation and social distancing measures.
- Activating business continuity plans and procedures – the industry has extensive experience in managing a range of operational contingencies to ensure supply continuity.
- Ensuring landholders who host gas production facilities or pipelines understand the measures in place to prevent any impact on their properties or families.
- Working with our supply chain to maintain access to spare parts and services;
- Helping the local businesses that support the gas industry to manage the economic challenges the virus presents.
- Seeking to maintain maritime services to support our offshore operations and deliver gas to our export markets.
Mr Davies said keeping the workforces and their support networks healthy is vital to the safe and secure functioning of our operational facilities.
“This means the health and welfare of staff, contractors and the communities we operate in are of the highest importance,” Mr Davies said.
Mr McConville said the economic contribution of Australia’s oil and gas industry was also vital as other parts of the economy are severely constrained by the impacts of COVID-19.
“The oil and gas industry underpins around 80,000 direct and indirect jobs – and hundreds of thousands of Australian jobs rely on the reliable, affordable and sustainable supply of oil and gas,” Mr McConville said.
“The resilience of our business is essential in maintaining the broader health of our economy and is our key focus during this challenging period.”