Following a meeting between The Turnbull Government and key players in the gas industry, measures have been agreed upon which aim to deliver cheaper energy and increase gas supply.
The outcomes from the East Coast Gas Market Meeting include:
1) Peak electricity demand – gas supply guarantee
- Gas producers guarantee that gas will be available to meet peak demand periods in the National Electricity Market (such as during heat waves)
- Implementation arrangements will be developed with the market bodies and other industry participants. The Australian Energy Market Operator will be given a power to direct the market
- This arrangement will be in place in time for next summer
2) New gas production
- The gas producers have agreed to make more gas available to the domestic market as soon as possible, to keep downward pressure on prices
- Producers will revise their domestic gas production forecasts, and AEMO will produce an updated supply outlook
- Two of the LNG exporters gave a commitment to being net domestic gas contributors, as part of their social licence. The third has taken the matter on notice
3) Market transparency
- The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and Dr Mike Vertigan will advise on options to quickly improve transparency in the gas market, to facilitate competition between producers and information for purchasers
- The scope will include the full supply chain – producers, transporters, retailers
4) State regulation
- The meeting called on the state and territory governments to revisit restrictions on gas exploration and development
5) Community support
- Industry acknowledged the importance of community support
6) Gas market reform
- Gas market reforms arising from the recent ACCC gas review will be accelerated. These reforms will improve pipeline capacity trading and gas trading markets
- Further reforms to improve the gas market will be urgently considered
7) Implementation arrangements
- The Government is establishing a Taskforce that will manage implementation of the above outcomes, and report to the Cabinet Energy Committee
- The Taskforce will include key Departments (PM&C, Energy, Industry, Treasury) and agencies (Geoscience Australia) and energy market bodies (AEMO, ACCC/Australian Energy Regulator, Australian Energy Market Commission)
- The parties agreed to meet again in a month to review progress
- Ministers Frydenberg, Sinodinos and Canavan will meet with gas pipeliners and customers over the next few week
The Government said it welcomes the commitment of the industry to accelerate the availability of gas resources. The Government is continuing to work on other policies to promote gas development and provide energy security through its Energy Committee of Cabinet.
APPEA Chief Executive, Dr Malcolm Roberts, said the meeting between the Prime Minister and gas producers had been constructive.
“The Australian Energy Market Operator has highlighted that gas-fired generation must stay in the energy mix to protect energy security. APPEA welcomes the Prime Minister’s initiative to work with the industry to remove the barriers to more gas supply,” Dr Roberts said.
“The gas industry will always work to ensure there is sufficient gas to meet Australia’s domestic needs.
Mr Roberts said, “This is despite the fact that some state and territory governments have made this task more difficult than it should be with unnecessary restrictions, moratoriums and blanket bans on new onshore gas projects.
“Australians will only secure its long term energy future when unnecessary restrictions on natural gas development are removed.”