MELBOURNE, Aug 12 (Reuters) - Australian state energy
ministers said on Friday local gas production should be
prioritised for the domestic market to ensure there is no
shortfall, as forecast for 2023 and 2024, raising pressure on
exporters to boost local supply.
Comments from the ministers from the two most populous
states, New South Wales and Victoria, came as Resources Minister
Madeleine King considers whether to curb exports from three east
coast liquefied natural gas (LNG) export plants, run by Shell
Plc, ConocoPhillips and Santos Ltd.
Ministers held a second round of talks on Friday with
national energy minister Chris Bowen on gas supply and energy
market reforms following a power and gas crisis in June.
"It's fair to say the challenges remain. Challenges remain
this year, they remain next year, into the immediate future,"
Bowen told reporters after the meeting.
The ministers agreed to extend powers to the Australian
Energy Market Operator to line up gas reserves in underused
storage facilities ahead of winter 2023 and require it to come
up with an annual winter readiness plan each year for the east
coast to identify risks well ahead of time.
"We produce more than sufficient gas to meet our needs, but
the problem is too much of it has been allowed to be exported at
our own cost, and that's got to change," Victoria state energy
minister Lily D'Ambrosio said at a televised media conference.
New South Wales energy minister Matt Kean said the gas
shortfall forecast for 2023 and 2024 needed to be met.
"And what we need to do is prioritise Australian gas for
Australian gas users ahead of companies making super profits and
exporting that gas offshore," Kean told reporters.
There was no mention in the ministers' communique about a
proposal from billionaire Andrew Forrest's company Squadron
Energy for an entity to be set up to line up imported LNG as
back-up for winter 2023 through a terminal being built by
However Squadron Chief Executive Officer Eva Hanly said in a
statement the company was "very encouraged by today's landmark
policy decision, in particular the power granted to the
Australian Energy Market Operator to procure and store gas in
The ministers also agreed to require regulators to take into
account emissions reductions when making decisions on the energy
market, in the first change to the National Energy Objectives in
Bowen said the change would make clear to global investors
that Australia is serious about cutting emissions after more
than a decade of policy uncertainty.
($1 = 1.4055 Australian dollars)
(Reporting by Sonali Paul
Editing by Mark Potter)