An increase in local gas supply, not proposed export controls, is what will lower domestic gas prices, according to Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) Chief Executive Dr Malcolm Roberts.
In a statement released in response to the proposal from the federal Labor Party to introduce a permanent trigger on export controls, Dr Roberts said increasing regulation would not solve current market issues.
“Trying to regulate prices does not tackle the real problems – the rising cost of producing gas and tightening local supply in Victoria and New South Wales,” said Dr Roberts.
“As manufacturers themselves accept, the only effective way to put downward pressure on gas prices is creating more supply from more suppliers.
“That supply needs to be local supply to avoid customers paying significant shipping costs.
“APPEA can see no justification for the government to apply export controls in 2019 and certainly no justification for making controls – with a price trigger – permanent.”
Much discussion over the last two months has centred around potential gas shortages on the east coast.
In July, Venice Energy predicted gas shortages could emerge in Victoria as early as the middle of next year, while conversely the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) both contended any scarcity in gas supply was unlikely to arise until the end of the next decade.
Dr Roberts said APPEA did not see any shortages in the near future, with upcoming LNG projects all looking to supply the domestic market first.
“In June this year, the AEMO forecast that it does not expect supply gaps until 2030,” he said.
“The ACCC made a similar finding in its July 2018 Gas Market Inquiry 2017-2020 report.
“The export controls introduced last year were not needed to ensure supply in 2018 and will not be needed in 2019 or into the future.
“APPEA members are committed to supplying local customers at competitive prices.
“The east coast LNG projects are offering all their uncontracted gas to domestic buyers first.”
Dr Roberts said ultimately undeveloped gas resources would hurt jobs and the economy.
“Restricting exports and killing jobs in Queensland does not lower gas prices in Sydney and Melbourne,” he said.
“Unless new gas resources in New South Wales and Victoria are developed, families and businesses in those states will pay more than those in states continuing to develop new supply.”