Resources Minister Matt Canavan today met with east coast gas producers at a second Ministerial roundtable meeting aimed at securing reliable and affordable domestic gas supplies for Australian users.
Last month, Minister Canavan hosted a meeting of major gas users and peak bodies, with feedback reinforcing the importance of affordability and reliability for Australia’s industrial and manufacturing sectors.
Today’s roundtable was part of Minister Canavan’s ongoing consultation on the Australian Domestic Gas Security Mechanism (ADGSM).
“Today’s conversation was about what more can be done to bring on new domestic gas production and gas supply,” Minister Canavan said.
“A few weeks ago I heard directly from gas users about their real world experiences of gas prices and availability. I put these concerns to gas producers and highlighted the critical importance of the gas industry itself taking action to boost production before I make any decision on controlling gas exports next year.
“Issues discussed included the gas supply outlook, availability of affordable gas supply offers and concerns by users about how gas was made available to the market.
“We had productive discussions about the existing agreement between the Government and east coast LNG exporters to guarantee domestic supply for 2019 and options for ensuring supply in coming years.
“The gas industry recommitted to the Peak Electricity Demand Gas Supply Guarantee which ensures that there is sufficient gas available to keep the lights on at times of high electricity demand.
“There was also in principle support for recommitting to the Heads of Agreement that provides domestic gas users with a first option to buy uncontracted gas. The government will seek to finalise a new agreement with the industry in the coming weeks.
“I thank the gas producers for their constructive approach to today’s discussions. The Government is committed to protecting the thousands of manufacturing jobs that rely on gas supplies as well as ensuring adequate affordable gas for domestic consumers. We also recognise the importance of the LNG industry to the national economy and many parts of rural and regional Queensland in particular.
“Today I also reiterated my call for all states, in particular Victoria, to lift their moratorium on conventional and non-conventional on-shore gas exploration and production.
“Their intransigence is costing Australia export revenue, jobs and affordable household gas prices.”
Minister Canavan said the Coalition’s hard work in firming up gas supplies and working with users, suppliers and peak bodies had helped rein in ballooning gas prices.
“Around 18 months ago, gas prices were on the rise and there were real concerns about the security of gas supplies for the domestic market. However, government action over the past 12 months, including the establishment of a gas export control framework and a Heads of Agreement with LNG exporters has helped bring domestic spot gas prices down by 25 per cent and gas offer prices by more than half.
Under the ADGSM there are a number of steps the Minister must undertake before export controls can be imposed for the following year, including making a notification of intent to make a determination on the state of the domestic gas market before 30 September. As part of this notification, the Minister can formally request information from LNG projects on their gas production outlook and planned export volumes, and from large gas users on their planned gas use and experiences with securing supply. A determination must then be made before 1 November 2018, on whether there will be a gas shortfall in 2019. If the Minister finds the domestic market is in shortfall, export permissions will be required by LNG exporters to continue to export LNG in a relevant market for the 2019 calendar year.