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The Federal Government has finalised a $32 million commercial loan with GB Energy to further develop the Golden Beach gas production and storage project.

The Golden Beach Project, offshore from Gippsland, is expected to help alleviate forecast gas shortfalls on the East Coast Gas Market by producing local gas for the domestic market for around two years before converting to an underground gas storage facility. 

The 12.5PJ of storage will help meet demand for gas during times of peak demand and keep a cap on prices.

The Golden Beach project was one of four critical gas infrastructure projects identified in the Interim National Gas Infrastructure Plan released in May 2021. 

It is a key focus for the Government’s $38.7 million commitment of targeted support in last year’s budget to accelerate these priority projects, as there is a critical need for more storage capacity to deliver greater supply flexibility during winter peaks to help keep the lights on and homes heated in southern Australia.

Given the current European energy security issues, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has also emphasised the importance of gas storage to provide insurance against unexpected events, including cold winter spells. As noted in the IEA’s Q1 Gas Market Report, a tight market with low storage levels can drive up gas prices.

Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction, Angus Taylor, said the Federal Government would provide the commercial loan to help accelerate the project towards final investment decision.

“The Morrison Government understands the importance of unlocking new gas supplies and critical infrastructure, such as gas storage, to build market resilience and put downward pressure on prices,” Mr Taylor said.

“Through our gas-fired recovery we have committed to boost the gas market, unlock supplies and ensure Australia has secure and internationally-competitive gas supplies to support households and job-creating industries.

“Industry and government have worked together to ensure our domestic gas prices have remained up to 80 per cent below prices seen in Europe.”

Member for Gippsland, Darren Chester, said the Government’s support for the Golden Beach project is the next step in securing more supply and will help this local project secure further commercial finance.

“This is a great investment in future gas supplies for Victorian households and businesses and an important investment in jobs and economic development in the Gippsland region,” Mr Chester said.

GB Energy estimates the Golden Beach project will directly and indirectly support more than 1,700 jobs across the region and help secure affordable supplies of gas over the coming decade and beyond.

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