LETTER TO THE EDITOR:
FOR more than 50 years, Esso has been a major contributor to the Gippsland community, and our Longford plants remain central to our widespread operations.
Throughout our history we have been applying advances in technology to extend the lives of our oil and gas fields.
Now, as our heritage fields approach the end of their lives, we are building a future for our operations by transforming from an oil business to a gas business.
In our early days, Gippsland was the only source of natural gas for Victoria.
Today, the gas network extends across all of eastern Australia, and Gippsland holds only five percent of eastern Australia's gas reserves.
Nevertheless, we remain committed to Gippsland.
We are making changes to strengthen our business in order to attract the hundreds of millions of dollars of investments necessary to develop each of our remaining fields.
We are making fundamental changes to our operations to ensure that any new developments will be able to compete in this dynamic gas market over the long term.
Key to our success will be our ability to apply world-class engineering supported by a highly productive, cost-efficient operation.
One way we remain competitive is by periodically re-tendering our contracts.
As supply-and-demand dynamics create rises and falls in costs, tendering ensures we receive quality service and materials at competitive market rates.
This is the free market at work, and it helps us in the global competition for investment capital.
It's this investment that will deliver a strong future for Gippsland.
We have made some good progress in this endeavour in the last year.
With this in mind, it has been particularly disappointing to see derogatory signs put up around the Sale community, and hear false allegations by the unions towards Esso.
Esso's investments over the years have continued to support some of the highest paying wages in the country.
What we have seen over the past few weeks from the unions is behaviour that is short sighted and seriously undermines our future potential.
Rest assured, we are committed to a long-term future in Gippsland, and we will continue to make the changes necessary to enable us to remain a competitor in this domestic gas market.