Is Western Australia short on encouraging government policies to unseal untapped gas resources?

Australian Energy Producers, representing Australia’s upstream oil and gas exploration and production industry, has urged the Western Australian (WA) government to put the required policy settings in place, such as a fix to the regularity approvals process, to unleash new gas reserves.

Illustration; Source: Australian Energy Producers (former APPEA)

In December 2023, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) warned of a decade of shortages due to growing demand driven by gas replacing coal in electricity and powering mining.

After a parliamentary inquiry into Western Australia’s domestic gas policy, Australian Energy Producers highlighted that the gas inquiry had failed households and businesses by ignoring cost of living pressures and not addressing the need for a new natural gas supply.

Caroline Cherry, Australian Energy Producers’ WA Director, commented: “The last thing WA households and businesses need is government intervention because that will only spook investment in the new gas supply that is urgently needed.

“WA gas producers have played an important role for a long time providing reliable energy supply, but government policies that unlock new gas reserves to alleviate potential shortfalls and put downward pressure on prices is what is needed.”

In line with this, Australian Energy Producers underlined that the Economics and Industry Standing Committee’s call for government intervention in the gas market would not unlock the new gas supply required to meet growing demand in the state.

The gas industry also renewed its calls for the government to lift the export ban on onshore projects to make ventures more commercially viable and deliver more domestic gas supply.

Cherry added: “For example, fixing approvals processes is one of the fastest ways to get new gas to the market. While this committee of MPs are entitled to their opinions, we must follow the facts and expert advice. The government must rethink its ban on onshore projects accessing export markets.”

In its 2024-25 pre-budget submission, Australian Energy Producers recently called for a plan that would enable Australia to stay away from looming shortfalls while continuing to boost its efforts to deliver affordable and reliable energy for homes and businesses. 

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The pre-budget submission points out the important long-term role gas is set to play in Australia’s energy transition to net zero and the growing opportunities for LNG exports to support regional emissions reductions.