ENA Gas Seminar

The Energy Networks Association Gas Seminar 2010 was held in Canberra on 12 October 2010 at Old Parliament House. ENA Director Gas and Energy Market Developments Dale Weber reflects on the event.

Our intention was to run a thought provoking seminar that examined the key question: Is natural gas the next big thing, or has its time come and gone?

In a joint opening session with the Gas Speak Colloquium, the keynote address was delivered by the Minister for Energy and Resources Hon. Martin Ferguson. The Minister recognised that gas has a significant role to play in Australia’s future, in both domestic and export markets, particularly in light of the focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

It was also acknowledged that industry has an important role to play in issues such as establishing a price on carbon and in working with government in identifying the barriers to increasing the uptake of natural gas for road transport.

The industry keynote address, Natural gas now and into the future, was delivered by Ian Little, Managing Director of Envestra. Mr Little’s speech included important insights into some of the key issues facing Envestra including regulatory barriers to investment, and workforce skills and planning.

Mark McKenzie from Rare Consulting presented the draft strategy for Australia’s natural gas industry commissioned by the Energy Networks Association (ENA). The strategy – helping to secure Australia’s energy future in a carbon constrained economy – is built around three strategic opportunities: to improve Australia’s energy security; to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and to fast track renewables and distributed generation.

Both Ben Wheaton (WheatonBeer Consulting) and Karen Masnata (PricewaterhouseCoopers) discussed natural gas’ role in the energy mix with respect to renewable energy sources.

After lunch, sessions were held on bringing new products to market, policy and regulatory issues, and upstream gas market perspectives.

In conclusion, natural gas will play a significant role in Australia’s energy future, but there is a lot of work to do, not the least in terms of working with government in shaping appropriate policy settings and working with key industry and non-industry stakeholders to implement the strategy for Australia’s natural gas industry.

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