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Monday, 21 April 1980
Page: 1613

Senator Carrick - Senator MacGibbonasked the Minister for National Development and Energy the following question without notice on 6 March 1 980 (Hansard, page 615):

Has the Minister seen the article in today's Courier-Mail that Esso Australia Ltd is to establish, by June of this year, two oil exploration teams in western Queensland and that these teams, consisting of 200 personnel, will operate for I Vi to 2 years looking for oil in the Winton and Charleville areas? Is Esso's claim that this will be the largest land-based search for oil in Australia 's history true?

The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

I have now read the article. My attention has also been drawn to the earlier press release made by Esso on 19 November 1 979 in regard to this program in which it was claimed that it would be 'one of the most aggressive onshore exploration programs undertaken in Australia in recent years in an area that has as yet no significant oil or gas indications . . .'. The release also indicated that the program would be funded from Esso's profits from Bass Strait production.

The claim made by Esso in the November release is, I believe, quite valid. Their Queensland program is a very good example of their contribution being made by the Government's crude oil pricing policy towards the resurgance of oil exploration in Australia.

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