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Thank you Melinda for that introduction.
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, it’s an honour for ExxonMobil Australia to be able to sponsor this event today and for me to introduce the Treasurer, Tim Pallas.
Before I begin, I would like to acknowledge Traditional Owners of the land on which we meet today. I would also like to pay my respects to Elders past and present.
I will try to keep my remarks brief,because I’m sure that, like me, you are keen to hear what Tim has to say about the outlook for our state.
Unlike Tim, I’m relatively new to Victoria – having arrived almost a year ago – in the midst of Melbourne’s fourth lockdown.
Let me tell you, quarantining in a hotel room with my three teenage daughters was quite an experience, but it was definitely worth it and I am very happy to be working here in this wonderful state.
While I’m new to Victoria, ExxonMobil certainly is not.
Our Victorian operations have powered Australia’s way of life for more than half a century. Millions of people rely on the energy we produce every day.
And, even in these uncertain times, we have continued to make significant investments to maintain our delivery of reliable and affordable Gippsland gas, supporting Australian jobs and the economy.
Our people are working hard to realise the full potential of the Gippsland Basin, which remains the largest single source of gas for Australia’s east coast.
Investments like West Barracouta, which came online in 2021, and the Kipper Compression project, which we announced earlier this year, will deliver more gas to the Australian domestic market when we need it most, especially here in Victoria.
These projects build on the billions of dollars we have invested to deliver more Gippsland gas to Australians over the last decade.
Thanks to our ongoing investment, we’ve been able to enter new supply agreements with some of Australia’s largest manufacturers of steel, glass and paper. These industries power Australian jobs and support our way of life.
I often hear a lot of commentary about Bass Strait being in decline. But I like to think of it as less of a decline and more of an evolution.
Our people are focused on creating sustainable solutions that improve quality life and meet society’s evolving needs, so that we maintain our support of Australian industries and the people they employ.
For example, some of you may be aware that we’re exploring the potential for a major carbon capture hub here in Victoria.
In 2009, an Australian Government taskforce identified Gippsland as the most attractive region for carbon capture in Australia, and last month we announced that we are undertaking early front-end engineering design (pre-FEED) studies to determine the potential for carbon capture and storage in the Gippsland Basin.
Our hub will initially use our existing infrastructure to take CO2 from our Longford Gas Plants and store it in the depleted Bream field, off the coast of Gippsland, Victoria.
Reusing our existing infrastructure in this way makes our carbon capture hub very cost-effective and we are hoping we can get it up and running relatively quickly.
In fact, we are aiming to start capturing 2 million metric tons of CO2 per year some time during 2025.
But, the most exciting aspect of our carbon capture hub is its potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from other local industries, and we are in active discussions with companies who may be interested in accessing the hub to reduce emissions from their operations.
We certainly are living in extraordinary times and the pace of change is extraordinary.
I am excited that ExxonMobil Australia is moving with these dynamic times, focused on continuing our significant contributions to the state of Victoria and I am looking forward to hearing what the Treasurer has to say today.
I have one more, very important, job before I invite the Treasurer to speak, and that is to let you all know that lunch will be served after his address, with a Q&A session to follow lunch, once we’ve all had an opportunity to digest what the Treasurer has shared.
I’d like to now welcome the Treasurer to the stage to share his perspectives on the 2022 Victorian budget.