Environmental activists, VIC/NSW governments to square off over gas

Image: Fairfax

The NSW and Victorian governments are considering action – including dropping current moratoriums on exploration – to deal with the east coast gas shortage.

The Australian reports that the government of NSW premier Mike Baird is preparing to take on environmental and farming lobby groups and assess coal seam gas projects on a “case by case” basis.

NSW energy minister Anthony Roberts said gas was an important manufacturing feedstock as well as energy source.

“Therefore ensuring continued reliable and affordable supply underpins employment and investment in a number of key sectors and locations,” he told The Australian.

An end to Victoria’s moratorium on new projects could be a game-changer for businesses such as fertiliser and aluminium producers, said Lakes Oil CEO Roland Sleeman.

Manufacturers including Dow Chemical and Qenos have been pushing for action on the local gas market, which has been criticised for a lack of transparency in pricing and a lack of competition due to this.

Australia has one of the world’s largest gas reserves, but prices have been forced up due to shortage as new supplies are exported to Asian markets.

According to a report by ABC’s The Business at the beginning of the month, some overseas manufacturers are paying half the price Australian manufacturers are for Australian gas.