Feeling Gassy

Article by Emma Elsworthy courtesy of Crikey.

We could run out of gas on chilly days as early as next winter, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has warned again. The SMH reports ExxonMobil and Woodside Energy are preparing to shutter one of three key plants that process gas from the Bass Strait, the 50-year-old Gippsland Basin, which has provided two-thirds of the southern states’ gas appetite.

We’ll see shortfalls in Victoria, NSW, SA, and Tasmania by 2026, the regulator predicted, a year earlier than what it predicted in 2023. But Guardian Australia notes our gas phase-out could slow that considerably (in Victoria you can’t connect gas in new homes from 2024). Energy Minister Chris Bowen basically said don’t worry, the gas security mechanism tweaks and a code of conduct for producers will shore up supply.

Interestingly, the paper notes we export the equivalent of 70% of the east coast’s gas consumption and The Australian ($) adds we are the world’s largest producer of gas. But Santos boss Kevin Gallagher said we can’t just prioritise ourselves because Russia and the Middle East would step in. He’s also in the news for telling the CERAWeek conference that “natural gas is the greatest decarbonisation tool we have”, saying we have a couple hundred years’ worth of gas in the ground.

Don’t make me tap the sign again. Meanwhile, Arafura Rare Earths has admitted it started a project in the NT to export critical minerals to Hyundai, Kia and Siemens before it got approval from the government, WA Today reports. The miner, which counts Gina Rinehart’s company as a key investor, got approval under our Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act but didn’t get the green light it needed from Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek. This happened days before the government announced it would invest $840 million in Arafura, as Crikey reported.