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Shell boss says brown coal use “absurd”

Andrew Smith

Shell Australia Chairman Andrew Smith has said it is “absurd” that Australia is still burning brown coal.

Speaking at the Australia Petroleum Production and Exploration Association’s (APPEA) 2016 Conference and Exhibition in Brisbane this morning, Mr Smith said the country should be making use of it’s abundance of natural gas.

“Indeed it strikes me as absurd that a nation as rich in natural gas as Australia persists in burning brown coal for electricity generation,” Mr Smith said.

“Surely investment in gas generated electricity provides a tangible and achievable path toward a reduction in carbon emissions – and an improvement in air quality.

“After all, gas produces half the carbon dioxide and just one-tenth of the air pollutants when burnt to produce electricity.”

Mr Smith pointed to brown coal production in Victoria, which generates a vast majority of electricity in the state.

“…both the state government and state opposition have stifled access to onshore gas reserves,” Mr Smith said.

“A well regulated onshore gas industry, like that in Queensland, is the only reliable way to displace the dirtiest power generation in the nation – as a partner with renewables.  

“But neither Labor nor the Coalition has yet shown the political will to make this happen.”

Mr Smith said the future of renewable energy is within reach, but oil and gas will “remain integral”.

“Most credible energy projections also see a vital role for coal into the future, and that is positive for our nation,” he said.

“As an energy source coal has had a profound impact on global economic advancement, and that will continue.

“But as we strive to minimise carbon emissions we need to rethink uses of coal outside of metallurgical applications and efficient new technology power generation using black coal.”


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