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APPEA calls for exploration bans to be lifted

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LNG Industry,

Victoria is Australia’s top state for natural gas use. However, it is also the only state in the country to ban development of its onshore gas resources, leaving over 1.8 million customers exposed to unnecessarily higher gas prices. Therefore, the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) is set to request that the Victorian parliamentary inquiry into onshore unconventional gas supports sensible policies for the development of Victoria’s onshore gas resources.

APPEA’s Chief Operating Officer for Eastern Australia, Paul Fennelly, said: “Inquiry after inquiry has found that a properly regulated natural gas industry is safe and delivers real benefits to regional communities.” He continued: “Further inaction or a continuation of polices that undermine the development of onshore gas projects will only impose costs on the community, in jobs, economic growth and higher energy prices.”

Gas Market Taskforce report

In 2013, the Gas Market Taskforce report was released. This document highlighted that Victoria has enjoyed cheap and reliable gas but prices are rising and known conventional gas resources will not last forever. According to the report, rising gas prices are likely to negatively impact Victoria’s manufacturing base, meaning that jobs and investments are at risk. Development of onshore facilities will allow for prospective supplies of gas.

Therefore, it seems that a sensible move would be to promote production of additional gas supply in Victorian government and other eastern states.

The APPEA has suggested that an independent Gas Fields Commission or similar model is established in Victoria to lead community engagement and education in relation to unconventional gas. This would require that moratoriums on onshore gas exploration and hydraulic fracturing be immediately removed.

The APPEA also proposes that the government adopts a risk-based approach to regulation, as set out in the COAG National Harmonised Regulatory Framework for Natural Gas from Coal Seams.

Moreover, the Inquiry could also consider the findings of Australian and international reports into unconventional gas and hydraulic fracturing.

Introducing a sensible regulatory regime

“Australia’s long-established gas industry has the engineering know-how and expertise to safely produce this cleaner energy source under a sensible regulatory regime that manages risks, both real and perceived,” Mr Fennelly said. “As an industry we must do more to let communities know how gas is safely produced, what technology is used and how investment benefits regional economies. But we can’t do it alone. Political leadership is required to establish a Gas Fields Commission.” 

He added: “Exploration bans must also be lifted immediately so companies can at least determine what gas resources may be available for commercial development.”

Edited from various sources by

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