I want to thank you all for taking the time to join us in celebrating the completion of this Gas Conditioning Plant – the final piece in of our historic Kipper, Tuna, Turrum Project.
At more than $5.5 billion, this multi-faceted project is the largest single investment ever into Australia’s domestic gas market.
It could not have come at a better time. I doubt there has ever been a period in history when gas supplies have been in greater need.
In fact, 2016 was a record year for gas production from our Gippsland operations and 2017 looks likely to follow suit.
This project represents a turning point in our continuing efforts to maintain this essential gas production from Gippsland.
We could not have achieved this without technical breakthroughs from our scientists and engineers as well as exceptional work and cooperation across many disciplines, including technical, operational, safety and commercial.
And we certainly couldn’t have achieved this without the support of our joint venturers – long-time Bass Strait partner, BHP Billiton, and also Mitsui at Kipper.
And finally, this would never have happened without the on-going support from our community and all levels of government.
Developments of this magnitude are very much a long game in a team sport. Together we have to convince investors to commit billions of dollars in order to receive marginal returns over decades of production.
The rewards for the economy can be transformational.
Our Gippsland operations have contributed an average of 2.5 percent of all Commonwealth Government tax receipts since production started in 1969.
ACIL Allen analysis shows that when we include direct and indirect benefits to the economy, ExxonMobil’s investments in Australia to date represent a contribution to GDP on average of almost $6 billion per year for a century from the 1960s through to the 2060s.
We are, in fact, celebrating this latest investment on the 50th anniversary of our first Gippsland Petroleum Production Licences, covering the Marlin and Barracouta gas fields. These two fields have provided the lion’s share of the gas that has warmed homes, cooked meals and fuelled tremendous growth in commerce and industry throughout south eastern Australia for well over four decades.
Once we built that foundation production infrastructure, it gave us the opportunity to look for more resources to add value and longevity to our operations.
The fact that we are here, half a century later, celebrating the largest investment we have ever committed to a Gippsland development, speaks volumes of the technical skills base we have here with our employees and contractors and the support we receive from the community.
Apart from the extensive infrastructure we have built up here over half a century, we have fostered the growth of a vast, highly skilled workforce within our own company as well as the many specialised contract firms that have established themselves in Gippsland to service our operations. We have also seen the development of deep technical knowledge and skills within the many regulators that oversee our operations on behalf of our community.
All these assets play a very important role in attracting the capital for such a marginal development as Kipper Tuna Turrum. They help to increase investors’ confidence that together we can maintain world-class operations through the life of this project.
While Kipper Tuna Turrum is definitely our largest Bass Strait investment in dollar terms, it is certainly not the largest in energy terms.
All the gas from Kipper, Tuna and Turrum would fit easily into any one of our foundational fields, with plenty of room left over.
Therein lies the key to the changing nature of our operations.
These new developments are tapping smaller fields, typically with increased geological and chemical complexity.
So as the Australian community calls for more affordable, reliable gas to meet its economic needs while achieving its greenhouse gas emission commitments, we should all be proud of the work we have been doing to maintain record gas production from Gippsland.
I want to congratulate everyone who has helped to make this complex Kipper, Tuna, Turrum Project a reality.
I want to thank our joint-venture partners and the community and government for their support.