The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) urged the Australian Government to focus on the development of Eastern Australia’s gas industry and ignore the calls for intervention into the domestic gas market.
According to the media release by APPEA, maintaining access to an open and competitive market in the oil and gas sector is in Australia’s best interests.
In its submission to the Eastern Australian Domestic Gas Market Study, APPEA agreed with the report’s assessment that the eastern market will continue to meet the medium-term and longer-run needs of participants and provide signals to support the timely supply of gas. APPEA has also welcomed the key conclusion of the study that governments could consider pursuing a number of measures to further improve supply, market signals, and support efficient market operation.
“We need to look to the future, not the past, to develop abundant gas resources to meet both export and domestic needs. Policies that manipulate eastern Australia’s domestic gas market to deliver perceived benefits to manufacturers would drive away investment in the sector and hurt the wider economy. Eastern Australia should not replicate the mistakes made in the West,” said APPEA Chief Executive David Byers.
“Successive Australian governments have worked for decades to unpick protectionist policy because they have realised such strategies deter the very investment needed to drive new projects, industrial expansion, new employment, and higher wages.”
Mr Byers said that the time is right for the Governments to work together through COAG to remove regulatory barriers to allow more gas to flow to the market.
“Such an approach can be successful if the Victorian and NSW governments actively support onshore gas development through leading practice regulation and community engagement,” added Mr Byers.
According to him, failing to allow gas producers to produce adequate supply will drive gas process higher, thus hurting commercial, industrial, and residential consumers.
APPEA and its member companies are in favour of stable and predictable regulation of its activities based on scientific principles and assessments.
“The Queensland and South Australian governments are using effective and proactive regulatory development processes to deliver enormous economic and social benefits. For example, Queensland’s natural coal seam gas industry now employs 30,000 people and has contributed more than $100 million to local community projects and causes,” said Mr Byers.
“Yet in Victoria exploration has ground to a halt and in NSW our industry employs fewer than 300 people while the state heads towards a gas price crunch that will have serious consequences for both industrial and household gas users.”