Victoria lifts onshore gas moratorium

Premier Daniel Andrews announced the decision to lift the lengthy moratorium on gas exploration following analysis from the Victorian Gas Program, saying the government would allow an “orderly restart” to commence next year.

Hydraulic fracturing would remain outlawed, with Mr Andrews also announcing the state government would enshrine its ban of the practice in the constitution.

APGA CEO Steve Davies said the decision would assist Victoria’s gas users including industrial, commercial and residential customers.

“Directly burning natural gas for heat provides more energy to the Australian economy than the entire electricity system,” he said.

“Australian Government statistics show end-use energy consumption of natural gas at 943 petajoules (PJ) compared to 834 PJ of electricity in 2017-18.

“Importantly, natural gas is a low-emission energy source.”

The decision was also welcomed by the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) who have consistently argued the ban hampered local manufacturing and kept gas prices high for consumers.

“The comprehensive scientific research undertaken by the Victorian Gas Program assessed the risks, benefits and impacts associated with onshore conventional gas,” said APPEA Chief Executive Andrew McConville.

“It confirms what other inquiries and industry itself has been demonstrating for decades – natural gas production is safe and sustainable.

“The government’s decision to lift the moratorium is a step in the right direction to help ensure that Victoria continues to have ongoing supplies of natural gas into the future.”

The moratorium was first introduced in 2017.

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