Workers on oil and gas projects in Western Australia (WA) will be exempt from travel restrictions imposed by the state government that has halted travel as part of emergency measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
The WA government will impose a 14-day self-isolation period for any person arriving in the state starting today. Workers on oil and gas projects will be exempt from the 14-day rule and instead be required to test for coronavirus on arrival in WA.
Workers will be flown to the nearest airport to the oil and gas field so that transits through Perth airport are significantly reduced, said a spokesperson for WA premier Mark McGowan. WA's resource projects rely on a significant proportion of their workforce flying in from other states, otherwise known as fly in, fly out workers.
The resources sector — together with transport, defence, police, air crew,health and emergency sectors and freight of essential goods — are deemed essential services and exempt from the travel restrictions, McGowan said.
WA is Australia's largest oil and gas producing state and hosts half of the country's 10 LNG liquefaction plants with a combined capacity of 48.7mn t/yr, with all of the gas extracted from the offshore Carnarvon and Browse basins.
Australia's second-largest gas producing state Queensland has also shut its borders and imposed similar restrictions as WA, while also giving exemptions to the gas-producing sector.
By Kevin Morrison