Gas bans a risk to Victorian energy security: APGA, APPEA

APGA Chief Executive Cheryl Cartwright

APGA Chief Executive Cheryl Cartwright

Gas industry associations have slammed legislation aimed at restricting the development of natural gas in Victoria, stating that the ban threatens the Victorian economy and Australia’s East Coast gas supply.

The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) and the Australian Pipeline and Gas Association (APGA) have stated that the move threatens the state’s economy.
At a time when increasing the proportion of natural gas in our national energy mix would do much to cut Australia’s carbon emissions, the Victorian Government introduced legislation to extend the existing moratorium on onshore gas development until 2020 and to permanently ban fracking.

APGA Chief Executive Cheryl Cartwright said the move confirmed that Victoria was abrogating its responsibilities to the nation’s energy security.

“All participants in the East Coast gas market are working on finding a solution to the current situation where demand for gas exceeds supply,” said Ms Cartwright.

“The solution is to increase the supply of gas, not cut off the possibility of extracting it.”

APPEA Chief Executive Dr Malcolm Roberts said the Victorian Government had chosen to ignore warnings of a looming gas supply shortage in its pursuit of green votes.

He said MPs who supported the legislation were effectively voting for higher energy costs.

“There is no environmental or scientific reason to ban natural gas development,” said Dr Roberts.

“Countless independent inquiries and decades of practical experience show the industry is safe. It is bewildering that a state that safely produced conventional gas onshore for 20 years until 2006 now claims it is unsafe.”

Ms Cartwright said that every independent inquiry into the unconventional methods used to extract CSG had found that, with appropriate expertise, risk management and regulation, CSG could be safely extracted.

“The Victorian Government’s job is to enable the safe use of the State’s resources for the benefit of all through appropriately rigorous regulation,” said Ms Cartwright.

“Instead of working through the issues, it has taken this unwise step that threatens energy security in Victoria and in the rest of the East Coast.”

Dr Roberts agreed, stating “The Australian Energy Market Operator and the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission have warned of gas supply shortfalls as early as 2019, yet the Andrews Government continues to ignore this.

“Its pursuit of more renewable energy means it will need more gas in the future to ensure a reliable energy supply. MPs should be absolutely clear – a vote to restrict gas development is a vote for higher gas prices for families and businesses.

“The Government should lift the moratorium on conventional gas and rethink its politically motivated ban on fracking.”

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