Australia: Energy Minister Says Greens Position on CSG Exploration ‘Absurd’
Resources and Energy Minister Gary Gray has described as ‘absurd’ the Greens’ announcement that they will go to September’s election with a policy for a blanket ban on all new coal seam gas exploration and production.
“It is an absurd proposition at a time when the global increase in demand for gas offers unparalleled opportunities for Australia,” Mr Gray said.
“Australia has abundant natural gas reserves – some are offshore; some are locked in coal and shale. All represent an abundant source of cleaner energy and wealth.
“We need to ensure we are developing this resource in a careful and responsible way. Only then can we cut family bills by reducing energy costs in the home and in the workplace.
“It would be silly and counter productive to price our clean gas out of the market by green tape, wrong priorities and absurd suggestions from the Greens’ for blanket bans on the coal seam gas (CSG) industry.”
Greens leader Christine Milne has confirmed her party’s hardened stance against CSG mining claiming big coal-seam gas mining companies were threatening precious water, valuable farmland and the global climate.
“Australia now has economically demonstrated CSG reserves of about 33 trillion cubic feet,” Mr Gray said. “The Greens ignore the key role of gas in the transition away from brown coal and they ignore the substantial Commonwealth and state environmental regulations underpinning this industry.
“CSG plays an important role in providing domestic gas supplies, now accounting for just over 35 per cent of the east coast gas market – with 97 per cent coming from Queensland.
“Australia’s eastern states are expected to experience tight supply conditions in the coming years and policies should be targeted at increasing supply, not providing a blanket ban on development.
“The eastern gas market is currently undergoing a transformation, with the development of new coal seam gas resources and the creation of an LNG export industry in Queensland. There are currently three projects under construction that will convert gas from coal seams into LNG for export (Queensland QLD Curtis LNG, Gladstone LNG and Australia-Pacific LNG). The first project, QLD Curtis LNG is scheduled to commence production from 2014.
“These three projects combined represent over $60 billion in capital investment.”
Mr Gray said LNG production capacity from these projects would exceed 25 million tonnes a year – compared with Australia’s total exports in 2011-12 of just under 20 million tonnes of LNG valued at around $12 billion.
“The direct and indirect benefits of our CSG industry have been impressive.”
According to the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association, 7,343 people were directly employed by companies late in 2012 and more than 27,500 contracted employees worked in the industry.
The majority were working in Queensland in rural and regional areas such as Gladstone and the CSG production areas in the Surat and Bowen Basins.
LNG World News Staff, May 27, 2013; Image: garygray.com.au