New Growth Centre to drive energy sector innovation and productivity Thursday, 25 February 2016

Innovation, competitiveness and productivity in the oil, gas, coal and uranium sectors are in the spotlight thanks to a new Growth Centre aiming to promote collaboration and innovation across the energy resources sector.

The Oil, Gas and Energy Resources Growth Centre, which will now be known as National Energy Resources Australia (NERA), is located in Perth, and is co-located with the Western Australian Energy Research Alliance (WAERA) at the Australian Resources Research Centre.

According to Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Christopher Pyne, the Australian government will be investing $15.4 million over four years in NERA. NERA will look to harness the energy sectors’ existing competitive strengths, leveraging research and innovation.

“The Growth Centre will work closely with researchers from universities, CSIRO and Cooperative Research Centres to build links with business and industry organisations,” Minister Pyne said.

“Importantly it will also promote industry-led research in priority areas by facilitating deeper engagement between industry and researchers.”

It is hoped that NERA will improve productivity and Australia’s national competitiveness, and also encourage the next wave of investment in Australia’s energy and resources sector.

The Growth Centre is chaired by experienced oil and gas industry executive, Ken Fitzpatrick, while its board and management team are drawn from across the oil, gas, coal seam gas, coal and uranium industries and their service providers. Eventually, NERA will establish nodes in Adelaide and Brisbane.

The Growth Centre is an industry-led, government-funded initiative that forms part of the Federal Government’s Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda. NERA is intended to support the oil, gas, coal seam gas, coal, uranium and related service industries in Australia, with the aim of making the sector a world leader by 2025 in growth, sustainability, innovation, competitiveness and productiveness.

“Our mission is to improve competitiveness, collaboration and productivity by focussing on reducing costs, directing research to industry needs, improving work skills, facilitating partnerships and reducing regulatory burden,” said Fitzpatrick.

“The great opportunity that exists is for Australia is to find a way to drive down our project and operating costs, which remain among the highest in the world, and become best in class in operations and maintenance.”

Fitzpatrick stressed that the resources sector remains one of strong potential.

“Currently this sector is forecast to generate $66 billion worth of export earnings from approximately 1,200 companies, employing 120,000 people directly,” he explained.

“By leveraging existing networks and initiatives to create opportunities for collaboration, innovation and knowledge-sharing we aim to help improve productivity and competitiveness for the sector as a whole.”