The West Australian government has appointed a new Minister for Mines and Petroleum in a cabinet reshuffle.
Sean L’Estrange has been appointed as WA’s new Minister for Mines and Petroleum replacing Bill Marmion who has been appointed Minister for State Development, Premier Colin Barnett announced in a statement on Tuesday.
West Australia is home to some of the world’s largest LNG projects, namely Chevron’s Gorgon and Wheatstone projects, as well as Shell’s giant Prelude FLNG that is expected to start operations this year.
L’Estrange has been an active Member of Parliament since his election to the seat of Churchlands in 2013. He is currently the chairman of the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee.
Before entering Parliament, L’Estrange established his own management consulting practice in Perth, and served his country as an Army Lieutenant Colonel in Afghanistan, according to the statement.
He takes on responsibility for Mines and Petroleum, and Small Business.
APPEA welcomes L’Estrange
In a statement on Tuesday, the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA) congratulated L’Estrange on his new appointment.
APPEA Chief Operating Officer Western Region Stedman Ellis said L’Estrange’s appointment comes at a critical time for the oil and gas industry.
“While the low oil price presents significant challenges for companies and projects, the outlook for Western Australia remains bright,” Ellis said.
According to Ellis, Australia is set to become the world’s largest producer of LNG by the end of the decade thanks, in part, to new WA projects such as Gorgon, Wheatstone and Prelude.
“The challenge for governments and industry is to ensure we stay competitive in an increasingly tough global market,” Ellis said.
“We now have a tremendous opportunity to convert the state’s onshore natural gas resources into long-term prosperity.”
“It is vital, therefore, that the new Minister focuses on policies that ensure access to resources, encourage exploration and reduce unnecessary red and green tape,” he added.