Australia’s oil and gas producers have warned against the Morrison government underwriting a massive expansion of the domestic industry, saying the country does not have a gas shortage and intervention could reduce supply and raise prices.
The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association said it welcomed some recommendations on gas in a leaked draft report by a manufacturing taskforce advising the National Covid-19 Coordination Commission, but it also included “ideas that just won’t work”.
The report suggested taxpayers should underwrite an increased national gas supply from multiple new fields and help build multibillion-dollar interstate gas pipelines, and the states should introduce “reverse auction” subsidy schemes for gas-fired power.
Andrew McConville, APPEA’s chief executive, did not say which recommendations he thought made sense and which he rejected, but said the country should “let gas markets work”.“Intervention is not needed and could be potentially counter-productive by discouraging investment, reducing supply and raising prices,” he said.“There’s also the question of what is the problem we are trying to solve?”
McConville said the Australian Energy Market Operator had found there was no gas shortage, and the taskforce’s recommendations would not keep prices to the historically low level of $4 a gigajoule as it hoped.He said Asian countries had managed to have strong manufacturing industries – the point of the taskforce’s report – with much higher prices.
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