Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA)

InfluenceMap Score
for Climate Policy Engagement
Performance Band
Organization Score
Canberra, Australia

Climate Lobbying Overview: APPEA is highly engaged with Australian climate change policy. The organization has taken positions against the need for stringent regulatory intervention to address climate change, and has particularly opposed measures to transition the economy away from fossil fuels.

Top-line Messaging on Climate Policy: APPEA’s top-line messaging on climate policy appears to be mixed. In its third edition of its climate change policy principles, released in February 2021, APPEA has stated it supports the science of climate change. While regarding the need for climate policy, APPEA stated support for national policy that applied a broad-based price signal on emissions to facilitate broad-based investment decisions. In the same document, APPEA also revealed its new support for a net-zero by 2050 target. However, this support appears to come with significant caveats, such a that such a target should support industries that provide jobs and economic growth' and maintain the competitiveness of Australian fossil fuels. In its 2022 social licence report, APPEA states the need for policies to 'achieve emissions reductions consistent with net-zero emissions across the Australian economy by 2050'.

Engagement with Climate-Related Regulations: APPEA appears to be engaging negatively with climate-related policies in 2023-21. In a February 2023 consultation response on the proposed design of the Safeguard Mechanism Reforms, APPEA stated that the reforms were moving too quickly while advocating for further price containment measures on ACCU's on top of the proposed $75 cap as well as stressing the need for further assistance for emissions intensive facilities. In a previous consultation on the Safeguard Mechanism reforms in September 2022, APPEA appeared to oppose the unilateral removal of ‘headroom’ and supported differentiated baselines as well as the direct provision of Safeguard credits (SMC’s) for emission intensive facilities. CEO Samantha McCulloch stated in a September 2022 AFR article that ‘In terms of the safeguard mechanism, we’ll be looking to ensure the commitments already made by government around emissions-intensive, trade-exposed industries are maintained’ without stating whether she was supportive of the overall reforms. Separately, in a July 2021 press release, then APPEA CEO Andrew McConville appeared to support the expansion of the Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) to be able to invest in hydrogen produced using fossil gas.

Positioning on Energy Transition: APPEA has strongly promoted the role of fossil gas in Australia’s current and future energy mix, while also seemingly promoting alternative fuels that have been derived from fossil fuels, such as blue hydrogen. In September 2022 in the associations' consultation response on the Safeguard Mechanism Reforms, it stated that ‘Maintaining and enhancing the economic contribution of the oil and gas industry will be vital as Australia’. It repeatedly stresses the need directly to policymakers for Australia to supply its fossil gas to Asia as it contains less CO2 than coal and will help those economies reduce their emissions, for example here in September 2022, here in March 2022 and here in January 2022. In October 2022, in response to the energy crisis, APPEA CEO Samantha McCulloch advocated for increased production and development of fossil fuels, such as in an October 2022 article in which she stated new supply is the best way to reduce prices. In March 2022, in testimony at the inquiry in to oil and gas exploration and production in the Beetaloo Basin, then CEO Andrew McConville stressed the need to develop the basin while promoting the benefits of fossil gas.

In the previous year, In June 2021, APPEA opposed NSW’s Coal and Gas Legislation Amendment which would have placed a ban on new coal and gas mining activities in the Liverpool Plains, stating the only way to reduce pressure on prices is increased investment and supply. Additionally, in August 2021, APPEA submitted a response to Victoria’s Gas Substitution Roadmap which strongly advocated for the continued use of natural gas as part of Victoria’s energy system, adding that ruling out natural gas would be “short-sighted”. In its 2021 climate change policy position document, APPEA continued to promote increasing the production of gas for use in the energy mix. In April 2021, APPEA made a submission to the inquiry into the prudential regulation of investment in Australia’s export industries, where it stated the importance to Australia to develop its oil and gas reserves and that the capital to do so was being constrained by the finance sector, fuelled by ‘political agendas of shareholder activists’.

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