Looking forward, the federal government has just announced a $26 million Gas Acceleration Program to fast track new supply to the East Coast, granting up to $6 million to new projects that can demonstrate good prospects for supplying gas to the market within three years.
It remains to be seen whether that will be enough to encourage producers facing various moratoriums in Victoria and New South Wales, and dealing with inadequate and congested transport infrastructure between Queensland and its southern neighbours.
However those issues could come to a head when the Commonwealth Heads of Government Energy Council has an important policy meeting in April.
Infrastructure development – any progress in the coming year?
On the infrastructure front there’s tantalising news that Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan is publicly backing the Browse Pipeline, linking Woodside’s LNG project northwest of Broome to the North West Shelf on the mainland.
McGowan revealed this week his government will expedite the development of the subsea pipeline, which will bring domestic gas to his state.
To the east, the first gas is due to flow through Jemena’s $700 million Northern Gas Pipeline (NGP) between the Northern Territory and Queensland by the end of the year, linking the NT and East Coast gas markets for the first time.
In Victoria, AGL is still awaiting state government approval of its plan to build a gas import jetty and pipeline at Crib Point in Western Port Bay, while Adelaide-based Cooper Energy continues to develop its $355 million offshore Sole Project.