APPEA rejects NSW’s parliamentary committee inquiry into gas

A parliamentary committee chaired by NSW Shooters’ Party and NSW Greens released the findings of its inquiry on 25 February to widespread condemnation from the natural gas industry.

In the Supply and cost of gas and liquid fuels in New South Wales inquiry, the committee advised the NSW government to hold off on developing the state’s coal seam gas reserves.

“In light of the significant public debate about coal seam gas extraction, it is a recommendation of this report that such expansion is not contemplated until all the recommendations of the NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer, contained in the 2014 Independent Review of Coal Seam Gas Activities, in NSW are implemented in full,” Committee Chair Hon Robert Borsak said.

“This report also argues that the development of the state’s coal seam gas reserves will not, on its own, act to address the challenges facing the gas market in New South Wales. The committee recommends pursuing an Australia-wide gas reservation policy, to assist in containing gas prices and to ensure security of supply,” Mr Borsak added.

The Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA) said the inquiry offers no “sensible or viable solution to impending gas challenges” and that the call for a national gas reservation policy suggests some Committee members are “living in a fool’s paradise”.

APPEA Chief Operating Officer Eastern Australia Paul Fennelly said: “A do-nothing approach that calls on other states to fix NSW’s gas supply woes is clearly not a sustainable or sensible option.

“There are Australian companies operating in NSW, informed by science and the latest technological innovations, standing ready, willing and able to develop gas resources for the state’s 1.3 million gas users.”

Mr Fennelly said these companies are the answer to securing the state’s gas supply – not “politically motivated recommendations released prior to a state election”.

“The industry is concerned that unnecessary restrictions and red tape placed on producers and explorers will continue to impede resource development and hamper further investment. Regardless of who wins the election, a mature and sensible solution is needed to secure our gas supply, jobs and investment in NSW.”

Resources Minister Anthony Roberts has reiterated that the NSW government will stand by its gas plan, saying it would ensure that any gas extraction is “done safely, with all risks adequately managed”.

Read the full report on the NSW parliamentary website.

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