Australian petroleum production continued to shrink in 2022, highlighting the need for further oil and gas development to reverse the decline and bolster fuel security.

According to the latest Australian Petroleum Statistics, the nation’s crude oil and condensate production for 2022 totaled roughly 103.9 million barrels, down from about 122.2 million barrels in 2021.

Meanwhile, natural gas production slipped 4.4 per cent, year-on-year, from 156.7 billion cubic metres (Bcm) in 2021 to 149.8 Bcm in 2022.

Production of liquid petroleum gas was also down 16.8 per cent in 2022, compared to 2021, totaling less than 31.2 million barrels.

The continued decline of Australian petroleum production coincides with a lack of exploration and development offshore Australia in recent years.

While there have been some significant successes in recent years, such as the Dorado and Pavo discoveries, the number of wells being drilled, seismic activity and the uptake of new acreage have all been on the decline offshore Australia for several years.

According to the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA), oil and gas exploration has fallen by more than 80 per cent in the last decade.

If Australia is to reverse its decline in petroleum production, existing discoveries need to be developed and more bravery to explore untapped potential laying in the waters offshore Australia needs to be shown.

This is why Carnarvon is not only working with its joint venture partners to progress Dorado towards a final investment decision, but also looking to unlock the remainder of the Bedout sub-basin through further exploration.

With a gross best estimate contingent resource of 344 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe) at Dorado, and a further 45 million boe gross best estimate contingent resource at Pavo, the Bedout could play a role in supporting Australian petroleum production.

The current development plan at Dorado envisages initial production of up to 100,000 barrels per day, while the joint venture is also exploring a low-cost tie-back of the Pavo discovery to the Dorado facilities, which would further extend plateau production.

Carnarvon also holds a substantial exploration footprint in the relatively underexplored Bedout sub-basin, which could hold significant upside potential.

The Company estimates the top 20 prospects alone across its existing four exploration permits could hold more than 1.5 billion boe in gross mean prospective resources.

This highlights the significant exploration potential that remains offshore Australia that could help meet forecast energy demand in the Asian region and play an important role in ensuring Australia’s long-term energy security.

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