EUAA backs call for Vic independent Gas Commissioner

A coal seam gas drill

A coal seam gas drill

The Energy Users Association of Australia (EUAA) has urged the Victorian government to support unconventional gas development amid fears for the future of the state’s manufacturing industries.

The group’s submission to the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into onshore unconventional gas was published this week, with a public hearing slated for tomorrow, September 15.

Overturning the state-wide moratorium on all forms of conventional gas exploration was first on the EUAA’s list of recommendations to the inquiry.

“If carefully regulated, managed and developed, these gas resources have the potential to solve industry’s current and looming energy dilemma leading to positive economic and social consequences,” the submission stated.

“However, at present Victoria’s moratorium on hydraulic fracturing and all forms of onshore gas development has provided only uncertainty and disincentive to explore further, let alone to develop these gas resources.”

The EUAA called on the Victorian and federal government to coordinate efforts to improve the evidence base for assessing the impact of unconventional gas projects amid escalating community disruption to the industry.

The association demanded the Victorian government remove regulatory barriers to new conventional gas production, reduce red tape, and prevent withholding existing gas reserves that are commercially viable.

It also called for gas supply constraints to be removed so that new second and third tier gas suppliers can enter the market, and backed the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association’s request for an Independent Gas Commissioner to be introduced to provide an independent source of information on gas fields and their environmental performance.

“Next year, LNG export trains are scheduled to be completed in Gladstone, Queensland, and the EUAA has long asserted in several papers that these LNG trains will increase the demand for, and price of, gas across the whole east coast,” the EUAA warned.

“There is potentially the risk that Victorian offshore gas may migrate north to these LNG trains if they encounter supply constraints from Queensland fields. This pressure will compound the gas supply issues our members are already experiencing (e.g. upstream consolidation) and will significantly decrease the level of competition thereby negatively impacting on operations, corporate strategy and the bottom line of all industries.”

Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Authority of Victoria also submitted its recommendations to the inquiry.

It stated that if a coal seam gas (CSG) or shale and tight gas (STG) industry is developed, it should be managed through early consultation with the community, be paired with further scientific knowledge and have best practice engineering standards attached.

Both the EUAA and the EPA will front the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry tomorrow, September 15 in Melbourne. Details HERE.

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