Energy Ministers recognise importance of gas industry development

December 7th, 2015

Despite a concerted activist campaign aimed (once again) at stifling industry growth, Australia’s energy ministers have instead focussing on the important role that natural gas development will play in Australia’s energy future.

Last week’s meeting of the powerful (excuse the pun) COAG Energy Council discussed a number of key issues – and high on the agenda was a gas supply strategy. Not mentioned in the meeting outcomes were repeated calls for landholder right to veto legislation

The meeting communique states:

“The Energy Council has released a Gas Supply Strategy, which signals a stronger level of cooperation on onshore gas social, scientific and regulatory issues and promoting industry best practice. The challenges and opportunities arising from the change sweeping energy markets require agile and strategic leadership.”

 The Strategy has four key aims:

  • Increased sharing of geoscience and other information about potential resources to improve certainty around gas supply data;
  • Strengthening scientific rigour and the sharing of information to improve baseline and monitoring data of unconventional gas resources across the community;
  • Harmonising regulatory frameworks to manage risk and address issues; and
  • Improving collaboration to promote industry best practice.

And, in a move that will go a long way to dispelling activist claims that there isn’t enough readily available data about the industry, APPEA will lead the development of a nationally consistent set of information about the industry, reporting annually on unconventional development activities across all jurisdictions.

The Strategy itself makes for interesting reading, recognising the important and growing role of unconventional gas:

“Gas from unconventional reservoirs is already an important component of Australian domestic gas supply. Over 40 per cent of the gas which flows to consumers in the eastern market (Queensland, Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia, the Australian Capital Territory and Tasmania) already comes from CSG. Although 98 per cent of the CSG we use is from Queensland, it is a major driver of price and availability of gas for residential and business customers across eastern Australia. CSG also supports world scale investment in a major new Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) export industry in Queensland. The role of gas from unconventional reservoirs is set to grow. Eastern Australia’s CSG resources are four to seven times larger than established, “conventional” resources in eastern Australia.”

So, the policy agenda is clear. The fact base is being expanded, and the regulatory framework is evolving. Time to unlock the gate and get on with developing the industry – after all, the COAG Energy Council recognises that:

“The COAG Energy Council’s objective is to maximise the benefit to the Australian community from the responsible development of gas resources.”

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