A new cooperation agreement between Australia's space agency and the country's largest natural gas producer aims to promote technology transfer between the space sector and the oil and gas industry.
A statement of strategic intent and cooperation agreement signed in Perth by Dr. Megan Clark AC, Head of the Australian Space Agency, and Woodside Vice President Technology Jason Crusan is designed to highlight areas of potential research, development and commercial outcomes, targeting specific technology developments as well as improved capability and competitiveness of wider Australian industry.
“By looking outside our industry to the Australian Space Agency, we can accelerate the development of technologies that allow us to safely and efficiently manage assets in remote and harsh environments,” said Woodside CEO Peter Coleman.
“This initiative will build on Woodside’s work in remote sensors and data analytics, as well as our ongoing collaboration in robotics with the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration.”
Dr. Clark noted, “The Australian resources sector is leading the world in remote management and maintenance through robotics, automation and artificial intelligence. These technologies and applications are critical requirements in any future near space and other space exploration initiatives.”
Karen Andrews, Australia’s Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, agrees: “Woodside is currently expanding its capabilities in remote operations and technologies,” she said. “Once commercialized, these technologies will not only have the capability to be deployed across different industry sectors but also utilized on earth, in space and on lunar and Mars missions.”
Minister Andrews said the agreement also shows space can enhance the capability and competitiveness of many Australian industries.
“The Agency’s purpose is to transform and grow a globally respected Australian space industry that lifts the broader economy and inspires and improves the lives of all Australians,” she said. “The goal is to triple the size of the sector to $12 billion a year and create up to 20,000 new jobs by 2030.”
The Agency’s statement with Woodside adds to agreements already in place with Airbus, Nova Systems, Sitael, Goonhilly Earth Stations and Lockheed Martin.
For Woodside, “Signing this letter with the Australian Space Agency complements our ongoing engagement with governments, other LNG operators and the tertiary sector to create Australian jobs of the future in remote operating and automation capabilities,” Coleman said.
“We want to ensure the Australian workforce is ready to leverage the opportunities these new technologies can bring - not only to the oil and gas sector, but to the community and the economy more broadly.”