The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has published its Gas Statement of Opportunities (GSOO) report for 2021, indicating that the development of new gas projects will be key for Australia’s domestic gas supplies until 2023 and beyond.

AEMO’s Gas Statement of Opportunities (GSOO) report found the outlook for gas supply had improved since 2020, but it was vital that anticipated projects came online.

AEMO forecasts the nation’s gas supply will be secure to at least 2026, but highlights this is dependent on the development of important infrastructure such as the Port Kembla import terminal being delivered to avoid shortfalls in 2023.

AEMO also highlighted the critical role of gas-powered generation in the electricity sector, particularly during winter peaks in states like Victoria and to support intermittent renewables.

Federal Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, Angus Taylor, said the Government is committed to a gas-fired recovery that will see Australian gas working for all Australians.

“We have been taking action to help secure the gas supplies that are vital to our economic recovery to avoid potential shortfalls and price hikes,” Mr Taylor said.

“The supply of reliable, affordable gas will keep downward pressure on energy prices and the lights on for Australian businesses and households.

“Gas will be even more important as Australia continues to be a world leader in the renewables sector, with one in four Australian households having solar installed.”

Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia, Keith Pitt, said the Federal Government has a detailed plan to ensure more gas supply.

“Our Strategic Basin Plan announced last year will prioritise five areas for development with real potential to deliver more gas into the domestic market, beginning with the Beetaloo Basin in the Northern Territory,” Mr Pitt said.

“I recently announced the guidelines for a $50 million grants program that will encourage and speed up exploration in the Beetaloo and that means more jobs sooner and more major investment sooner.

“We will identify, and progress other basins with major gas reserves providing further economic opportunities, particularly in regional areas.”

AEMO reported that proposed pipeline expansions, storage projects and new basin developments could further improve the resilience of Australia’s domestic gas system, along with an import terminal.

The Government’s National Gas Infrastructure Plan, announced as part 2020’s Budget, will consider such projects and map pathways to avoid short term shortfalls.

The Federal Government wants to work with industry to see these vital infrastructure projects delivered. This must be balanced with encouraging more local basin development that supports Australian jobs, brings investment to regional areas, and lowers gas prices for consumers.

The gas-fired recovery will deliver a more competitive and transparent gas market in Australia to benefit both gas producers and users. This action will focus on three key areas: unlocking gas supply, delivering an efficient pipeline and transportation market, and empowering gas customers.

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