WA: (end of the) :ERA
After 17 years, the Western Australia Energy Research Alliance will close its doors on 30th June 2020. This has come by mutual agreement of partners CSIRO, The University of Western Australia and Curtin University. The legacy we leave behind enables the oil and gas industry to identify and access research excellence situated in Western Australia through the three research partners who have worked closely together.
WA:ERA was established by the CSIRO, Curtin University and The University of Western Australia as an unincorporated joint venture in September 2003. WA:ERA’s initial focus was on capability building, research and education in the areas of offshore gas technologies, facilities and subsurface technologies, particularly linked to the upstream petroleum industry. Woodside was the first partner, a company with emerging challenges related to North West Shelf gas development. They were seeking a more integrated, research-oriented approach to address local challenges. This was one of the leading drivers for the creation of our alliance, where the industry alliance partners would be able to work with the research community with a critical mass of capability to deliver novel and innovative solutions. The alliance grew over the years through Chevron joining in 2005, and more recently with the arrival of Shell Australia.
Capability, in the form of new researchers, including PhDs and post-docs, grew through the support from the WA State Government in the form of a Major Research Facility grant of $20m provided in 2005, which allowed the three research partners to increase capacity and capability to enable a transition in WA to becoming a major LNG world player and enabled development of research in metocean and seabed conditions, floating LNG, onshore coal seam gas, corrosion and pipelines, subsea tie-backs, flow assurance, carbon storage and monitoring, autonomous vehicles, new materials and advances in the digital age.
The oil and gas industry has weathered downturns and is embarking on a new age of energy with growth in renewables and the advent of a net zero emissions future. The research partners and the industry alliance partners we have supported over the years recognize the need to prepare for the new energy trilemma, being energy security, affordability and environmental sustainability, and the need to develop and implement new innovative solutions to meet the new challenges.
The WA:ERA Board has concluded that this is an appropriate time to celebrate WA:ERA’s successes and look forward to new energy challenges and solutions. Existing and future collaborations between the researchers or industry partners will continue. New agreements and alliances will no doubt follow.
WA:ERA has provided significant return on investment to the research partners, State Government and Industry Alliance Partners over the years and a new business model is under development to allow the research institutions to work directly with these long-term industry partners.
Contracts will continue to be signed up to 30th June and the T&Cs will be carried over until their completion. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Robert Johnson, Interim WA:ERA Chair
Dr Linda Stalker, Acting WA:ERA CEO