Government says Australia could copy US’s cheap gas boom “over time”

Federal
industry minister Ian Macfarlane has said the Australian gas market was
transitioning, though there was hope that the country could follow the US’s
success in exploiting rich unconventional gas reserves.

The
Australian Financial Review
reports the minister as saying “Australia can
repeat that success over time with the right regulatory frameworks and business
environment.”

The US is currently enjoying low gas prices due to investment in shale gas. Some
have credited this with sparking a “manufacturing renaissance” in the country.

However, The AFR reports deep concern from the country’s manufacturers around the local gas market,
with BlueScope’s managing director Paul O’Malley saying it was too late to avoid massive price
rises, and Brickworks investing in alternative energy sources such as waste
wood chips and landfill gas.

There
are currently seven LNG projects underway, with three on Curtis Island. The
earliest exports will be next month from one of the Curtis Island development,
and east coast exports have long been expected to drive up local gas prices as
the market begins to be linked to prices paid in gas-poor Asian countries.

In
September a coalition of domestic users, led by the AMWU, launched the Reserve Our Gas campaign. A gas
reservation, however, is not an option supported by the government or
opposition.