As he says, global developments are taking some of the pressure off demand for Australia gas for trade in the LNG markets. Coming along the chain, this reduces LNG producers’ ability to pay for local gas while the fall in demand for gas by east coast power producers is also taking pressure off the domestic market.
Assuming domestic supplies are available, this, Bethune suggests, could lead to a situation where domestic gas prices, while still being higher than their historical levels, may be as much as $3 per gigajoule below the forecasts that have made users, and especially manufacturers, blench over the past 12-18 months.
The source of extra gas for the domestic market under this scenario and the cost of its production are manifest considerations as is the question of whether governments, especially in New South Wales and Victoria, can get their act together to resolve the drilling restrictions hassles.
Opening the On Power 2015 yearbook forum in Sydney yesterday – an event sponsored by PricewaterhouseCoopers and distinguished by a strong speech by Martin Ferguson that reporter Angela Macdonald-Smith has written about in all three Fairfax daily newspapers today (it’s on their websites) – I reminded attendees of the advice of Rafiki, the wise baboon in “The Lion King,” that we should always look beyond what we see.
God forbid that it be thought I am comparing Dr Bethune to a baboon, wise or otherwise, but he is playing a Rafiki role here in getting us to think beyond what we suppose we can see.