Australia’s Resources Minister, Martin Ferguson has emphasised that the National Offshore Petroleum Safety Authority (NOPSA) is a competent investigative organisation and that people should not speculate on the cause of the Varanus Island pipeline explosion before the report is completed.
At a joint press conference with the Minister on 14 June 2008, West Australian Premier, Alan Carpenter said it was too early to gauge the impact of the gas supply disruption. (Politically too early but the finance papers are full of the impact on Australian business. Look at the disastrous share performance of Babcock & Brown Power for evidence.) Carpenter then estimated a cost to the economy of “hundreds of millions of dollars a day”.
NOPSA’s report should be fascinating reading on the operation of an isolated gas pipeline but more fascinating would be a book about how the West Australian energy infrastructure was allowed to become so fragile. The book should also document the positives about the business continuity programs of the major WA industries.
The next impact will likely come from the insurance companies.