State government stymies NSW natural gas

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ID 100174701
ID 100174701

The Strategic Regional Land Use Policy announced yesterday by the New South Wales government does not “proactively support” the state’s natural gas industry development according to Australia’s peak national oil and gas body.

Image courtesy of [phanlop88] \ FreeDigitalPhotos
Image courtesy of [phanlop88] \ FreeDigitalPhotos
The Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA) stated in a media release that the policy does too little to address the state’s growing gas needs.

“The NSW Government continues to send the message that it does not really welcome development of natural gas from coal seams in the state. All the advice provided by energy experts and industry leaders at the NSW Government instigated energy summit in Sydney last week appears to have had little effect,” APPEA Chief Executive David Byers said.

“A policy anchored in blanket no-go zones to “protect” areas from an industry that has been producing natural gas safely in Australia for decades is not a policy based on sound science or experience. If the government wishes to protect the values of a given area it should specify the outcomes needed and require proponents to demonstrate they can achieve those outcomes based on appropriate practices and scientific data.”

According to chief executive, the fact that NSW’s primary sources of local natural gas has safely operated in western Sydney and Queensland for more than a decade was lost in the NSW debate.

Adertisement

Restraining NSW from developing a cleaner and locally sourced energy, using safe technology with little impact on farmland can have terrible consequences for the its 1.2 million gas users and impede the opportunity to put downward pressure on energy prices.

“The Australian east coast gas market is undergoing significant transformation with demand set to triple once three large interstate export projects enter production from late next year,” Byers said.

NSW, which supplies only 5 per cent of its own gas demand, gets the rest of its supplies from Queensland, South Australia and Victoria.

APPEA, according to Byers, supports the need to balance competing land uses but argues the balance should be struck on evidence not populist concern.

“Development of this vital resource is not only crucial to cement the state’s energy supply, to meet the demands of domestic and industry gas users, but to create jobs, revitalise regional communities and provide royalties for the improvement of public services and infrastructure,” he said.

“Increased regulation that doesn’t appear to be based on scientific evidence can only serve to slow development, resulting in less gas to meet increasing demand and higher prices for users.”

According to the media release, APPEA will consider the policy in more detail, particularly mapping released by the NSW Government, in coming days.