Comment: Where to from here?

February 20th, 2015

Australia’s East Coast needs more gas, but the current business environment is not encouraging investment, meaning the risk of future shortages is growing.

A depressed oil price and expectation of ongoing full supply of oil means global exploration has dropped off dramatically. That has a negative impact on new gas finds as well, given the common link between oil and gas deposits.

But declining exploration is not the problem for gas supply in Australia – we have abundant known reserves ripe for development in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia.

The biggest obstacle is uncertainty over Government gas policy in some eastern statesm, and the reluctance to stand up to protest movements hellbent on the eradication of fossil fuels of all types – oil, coal and gas.

Exxon Mobil chairman Richard Owen belled the cat at a Melbourne function this week, identifying Government policy uncertainty, misleading information about gas and a misunderstanding of the penetration of renewable energy as the culprits undermining investment.

The downside of people believing misinformation was possible shortages in the near future , Mr Owen said, adding that:

“The reality is renewables make up a very small proportion”

And that is not likely to change in the decades ahead.

“The Bureau of Resource Economics predicts that in 2050, 95% of Australia’s energy needs will be satisfied by coal, gas and oil. And that accords with our own modelling at Exxon Mobil,” Mr Owen said.

For more detail on the BREE forecasts, read our article .

Then contrast it with the Greens ‘roadmap’ to 100% renewable energy, supposedly to be achieved by spending $3 billion a year for 10 years.

The current Government subsidy to renewable energy already costs taxpayers $2 billion a year, and it has driven $18 billion investment in renewable energy sources, primarily wind and solar.

And the result of that $18 billion investment? Less than 4% contribution to power delivery.

There’s a hefty gap to fill to get us to 100% renewable on a $30 billion spend over 10 years.

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