Artificial gas shortage can be fixed with domestic gas reserve

MEDIA RELEASE – 29 November 2013

The Greens NSW spokesperson on mining Jeremy Buckingham called on government and industry to discuss domestic gas reservation as a sensible regulatory response after the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) in its Gas Statement of Opportunities 2013 predicted a gas shortage in the East Coast network – particularly in NSW –  caused by the move to export vast amounts of LNG from Gladstone, Queensland.

Jeremy Buckingham & Drew Hutton at Tara, QLD

“The rush to export huge amounts of LNG is severely distorting the East Coast gas market and the only sensible response is for the government to regulate the industry to ensure domestic supply to households and the manufacturing industry,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“The AEMO report notes that domestic demand for gas will only increase by 0.9% per annum and it is LNG exports that are causing an artificial gas crisis.  Conventional gas supplies from Moomba in South Australia will be directed away from Sydney and redirected to the LNG export facilities at Gladstone to fulfil export contract commitments.

“Santos admits they will not be able to connect their coal seam gas fields near Narrabri to the Sydney pipeline until 2017 at the earliest, with 2018-19 being far more realistic.

“NSW Resource Minister Hartcher should stop bleating about coal seam gas and talk with his state and federal colleagues about reserving some of Australia’s conventional gas for domestic needs to  avoid this looming market failure.

“Why should the LNG gas consortiums be able to prioritise exports to North Asia over the gas requirements of Australian businesses and households?  Why aren’t governments acting to ensure Australian gas is made available for Australian use before it can be exported?

“The United States only allows gas exports after it has been proved that there is not a domestic market for the gas.  Australia is neglecting its national interest by failing to regulate gas exporters,” said Mr Buckingham.

The Greens are currently discussing policy responses to the gas shortage, including potential support for a gas reserve that is compatible with a rapid transition to renewable energy.

Contact: Max Phillips – 9230 2202 or 0419 444 916

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