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Economist says gas companies have manufactured shortage myth


Source: The Guardian 13/01/2017

Australia’s gas companies have manufactured a myth that there is a gas shortage, an economist with the Institute for Energy Economics & Financial Analysis, Bruce Robertson, said.

The idea that onshore coal seam gas exploration would ease pain for manufacturers by bringing down high local gas prices in a low-price global environment “goes against basic economic theory”, he said.

Victoria’s acting resources minister, Philip Dalidakis, said there were no proven or probable unconventional onshore reserves in Victoria, so the ban implemented by his government would not have any impact on gas supply.

“We will continue to encourage development of Victoria’s offshore gas resources and gas storage, to assist future supply and help mitigate price increases,” he said.

Coal seam gas exploration is causing concern across the country. It was a key issue for voters in the New South Wales 2015 election, and the South Australian Liberal party announced a 10-year moratorium on fracking in the state’s south-east as one of the key policy platforms on which it will contest next year’s election. A moratorium on fracking commenced in the Northern Territory in September. In Western Australia, Labor announced it would make the Perth, Peel and South West regions “frack-free zones” if elected come March.

The environment and energy minister, Josh Frydenberg, believes proposals for new gas exploration and development should be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, after an ACCC report into coal seam gas exploration on the east coast recommended against a blanket ban.

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