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Urgent policy changes needed on Australian gas supplies: APIA

Urgent policy changes are needed by Federal and State governments in order to properly develop long-term gas supplies across Australia, according to the nation’s gas transmission industry.

Australian Pipeline Industry Association (APIA) Chief Executive Cheryl Cartwright called on the New South Wales and Victorian governments to “get sensible” about allowing new gas developments, while the Federal Government still needs to implement change that improves the competitive environment in the nation’s wholesale gas markets – including encouraging more smaller producers.

“Policies that encourage more explorers, producers and suppliers would increase competitiveness in the domestic market,” Ms Cartwright said.

“For example, for smaller gas explorers, it is usually more efficient to sell their reserves rather than process the gas and sell into the market. Costs would generally prohibit building their own facility.

“To really improve the competitive environment, multiple policy reforms should be considered, including the use of joint marketing agreements, retention of lease arrangements and incentives to small explorers.”

Ms Cartwright said that with the challenges facing Australia’s east coast gas market in the next few years, there is much focus on transportation as well as production and availability.

Call out governments

Meanwhile, APIA President Mark Dayman has opened the 2014 APIA Conference and Exhibition, currently being held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, calling on the industry to speak up when governments make politically-based decisions irrespective of the science.

“We need to speak up when governments make short sighted, politically expedient decisions such as shutting down exploration in prospective areas in response to pressure from small groups of well-organised protestors,” Mr Dayman said.

“The Victorian Government has allowed itself to be hijacked by the lock the gate protestors, although this may just be a response to the political situation in that State and the looming State election due on November 29.

“The situation in NSW is even more concerning. The people of Sydney need to be aware that rising energy costs are the inevitable result of the State Government’s decisions to effectively ban CSG development.

More than 700 pipeline industry delegates from Australia and overseas will attend the event until 21 October, with key business sessions being held today and tomorrow.

This article first appeared in PPO News. Click here to sign up for a free trial.

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