Recent developments show gas investment still shining
November 20th, 2015
Despite challenging global prices for oil and gas, the resources industry continues to keep Australia‘s economic motor running – as recent announcements in Queensland and the Northern Territory and by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission have shown.
A new $1 billion gas pipeline to connect NT onshore gas reserves with Queensland interconnectors is good news for investment, employment and east coast gas supply.
And a $1.7 billion expansion of resource development by Queensland Gas Company (QGC) is similarly good news for investment, jobs and supply of gas for export and east coast supply.
Capping these announcements in Darwin and Brisbane was a statement by the competition regulator approving the Shell purchase of BG Group’s assets in Australia, which include QGC.
Globally, Shell and other major investors in Australia including Chevron and ExxonMobil, have made it clear they see natural gas as a key component of future energy growth and the path to lower greenhouse gas emissions.
With its $84 billion investment in the giant Gorgon and Wheatstone projects off the WA north coast, Chevron has established itself at the top of the tree of companies investing in Australia. Exxon and Shell are in the leading group as well, with Santos leading the Australian ‘home-grown’ group.
The NT pipeline is an important link in developing the Territory’s significant onshore gas resources.
A study by accounting firm Deloitte recently estimated that a shale gas industry supplying the NT, eastern and export markets could provide a $22 billion boost to NT GDP by 2040, generate 6,300 new jobs and increase taxation revenue to the NT Government by up to $460 million a year.
As a territory which relies on natural gas to power its cities, the NT has a strong interest in continuing its long and positive record of utilising gas resources, whether from offshore or onshore.
But this, apparently is not of interest to activist groups, who are opposed to development regardless of business and consumer needs now or in the future.
Lock The Gate followed its usual enviro-political tack by claiming the project was flawed because it depended on hydraulic fracturing (HF), which was “expensive” and “risky” and could be rejected at the next NT election.
It tried to attack the NT Chief Minister, Adam Giles, and the nationally-credentialed bureaucrat who conducted the recently completed NT review into fracking, claiming both were politically compromised.
For Lock The Gate, it was another case of ‘when you don’t like the decision, blame the umpire’.
In WA, Frack Free Midwest followed suit, attacking State Government scientists and other gas extraction experts who studied HF for two years, coming to the conclusion the process was “low risk” in WA.
Frack Free Midwest ignored the finding and tried to dismiss the 51 findings and 12 recommendations in the WA report as “window dressing for an unsafe industry”.
It said a recommended gasfield development oversight body could not be trusted as there had been reports interstate of such bodies accepting football tickets and invitations to “expensive cocktail parties”.
It shows the tactics that activists will resort to when things just don’t go their own way.