Oil and gas industry demands govt support

The oil and gas industry will demand today that politicians of all stripes stop finding ways to hold back the sector and instead focus on developing policies to cement the country's economic future.

The 53rd annual Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association conference begins in Brisbane today with almost 3500 people registered to attend from more than 30 countries.

Last night it was the annual cocktail gathering but today the focus is on discussing the cost blowouts that are plaguing the sector and the continuing uncertainty over State and Federal policies.

APPEA chief executive David Byers said the sector wanted a stable and competitive tax system with the focus on a cut in the company tax rate and little change to important areas such as exploration incentives or depreciation.

A growing concern, particularly in light of WA's gas reservation policy, is the intervention of State Governments in the sector.

Mr Byers said there was no cause for a reservation policy or, as has been floated in Queensland, the setting aside of areas solely for the development of domestic gas.

He said finding ways to boost the LNG sector would deliver up to $100 billion worth of projects over coming years with estimates this would provide $13 billion in corporate tax and royalties to the State and Federal governments. "That's the funding needs of about 25,000 public hospital beds or enough to fund the annual education costs of one million students in government primary schools," he said.

"Australia's challenge is to maximise the chances of Australia securing the future investments being made in the global LNG industry."

Origin Energy chief Grant King said governments of all persuasions had to recognise that the money available from royalties and tax was revenue demanded by the local community. "Why would we not be doing everything to make sure that is delivered as efficiently and as quickly as possible, because by far the easiest conversation to have in our country is if we've got more money to spend, let's have the conversation about how to spend it," he said.

Shell chief executive Peter Voser will deliver the keynote address, with other speakers including International Energy Agency chief economist Fatih Birol, APPEA chairman David Knox, Resources Minister Gary Gray and his Opposition counterpart Ian Macfarlane.