Australia should aim to be an affordable energy superpower, Prime Minister Tony Abbott says.
Mr Abbott visited Houston – which is home to more than 100 Australian companies and 3700 energy firms – on Friday to announce a consulate-general would be established in the Texas city.
He said the permanent presence in the biggest exporting state in the US would allow Australia to “maximise the two-way trade and investment opportunities of the US energy revolution”.
“Australia should be an affordable energy superpower, using nature’s gifts to the benefit of our own people and benefit of the wider world,” Mr Abbott told the Asia Society dinner.
More than 50 Fortune 500 companies have their headquarters in Texas, second only to New York.
Australia is set to become the world’s top exporter of liquefied natural gas and is already the largest exporter of black coal.
Mr Abbott said he believed coal would continue to be an “affordable, dependable energy source” for many decades.
Australia did not believe in “ostracising any particular fuel” or harming economic growth through a carbon tax, he said.
But he said it was “prudent” to reduce emissions, which was why he would deliver a $2.55 billion direct action policy and encourage renewable energy such as wind, solar and geothermal.
Chevron North America president Jeff Shellebarger, Australia’s largest foreign investor, told the gathered chief executives that Australia was “setting the standard for resources policy”.
Chevron’s Gorgon LNG project is Australia’s single largest oil and gas investment.
Ryan Lance, the chief executive of ConocoPhillips, said Australian resources were “important to the future of the world”.
“Your energy resources will power the region,” he said.
ConocoPhillips and Bechtel are building four of Australia’s seven new LNG projects.