Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA)

InfluenceMap Score
Performance Band
Organisation 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 2021 social license report, APPEA states the need for policies to 'achieve emissions reductions consistent with net-zero emissions across the Australian economy by 2050'. In response to the IPCC’s WG1 report in August 2021, APPEA CEO Andrew McConville wrote an opinion piece in the Sydney Morning Herald and clarified the associations support for the objectives of the Paris Agreement, including net zero by 2050. In October 2021, the association supported the federal government's Emission Reduction Plan which includes a formal net-zero by 2050 target, but at the same time also appeared to emphasize climate solutions and pathways that heavily rely on technology (eg CCS).

At the same time, APPEA appears to oppose the existence of separate state policies, which in Australia, have typically been more ambitious. Within its 2021 climate change policy principles document, APPEA also argued that Australian climate policy should maintain the competitiveness of Australia’s trade exposed industries, including the LNG industry. Moreover, APPEA has argued that future climate policy in Australia should aim to enhance Australia as a destination for LNG investment while in 2019 APPEA reportedly advocated for the use of Kyoto carry-over credits by Australia to achieve its emissions targets.

Engagement with Climate-Related Regulations: APPEA appears to have had negative engagement with a number of climate-related policies. In 2020, APPEA again lobbied against the inclusion of Scope 3 reporting requirements under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation act. In this instance, APPEA lobbied against using the EPBC act to reduce greenhouse emissions altogether. Since 2020, APPEA supported reform to change the remit of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency from funding renewable energy to funding ‘low emissions' technology’ such as CCS. In 2019, APPEA opposed the Western Australian EPA's proposed changes to Greenhouse Gas Assessment Guidance for new projects, which included counting Scope 3 emissions and requiring organizations to offset all emissions for large projects.

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 2020, APPEA has pushed for an increased role for gas as part of the government’s Technology Roadmap and has also been active in pushing for support for fossil fuel development in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes advocating ‘fast-tracking’ brownfield coal developments, advocating an expansion in gas usage and fracking in the Northern Territory, as well as lobbying for new fossil fuel subsidies.

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’. In June 2021, APPEA CEO Andrew McConville testified to the Joint Standing Committee On Trade And Investment Growth's Public Hearing on Prudential regulation of investment in Australia’s export industries, where he stated that the IEA’s Net-Zero scenario was ‘just one pathway’ and ‘unrealistic’, while going on to state support for natural gas in the energy mix.

While APPEA appears to support the development of hydrogen, it appears to be primarily promoting hydrogen produced from natural gas. In a speech at the South East Asia Australia Offshore & Onshore Conference in October 2021, CEO Andrew McConville stated that gas has a critical role in a net zero future, highlighting the role of blue hydrogen. In the same month, he published an OP-ED in The Advertiser, in which he appeared to promote future exports of hydrogen produced from natural gas without clear conditions that such production would be dependent on CCS development and in February 2022, McConville appeared to support the EU's decision to classify natural gas as a sustainable activity in the taxonomy.

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