Gas links gaining traction
The Federal Government is looking at ways to link Australia's gas networks.
Prime Minister hosted a gas industry executive summit in Canberra last week, looking for a solution to gas shortages in eastern regions.
One perennial idea is for a pipeline to send natural gas over from Western Australia.
It is an idea most recently floated by former WA premier Colin Barnett. Fellow West Australian, Finance Minister Mathias Cormann, has now confirmed the Commonwealth is considering it.
“We are currently considering it as part of the work we are doing about improving energy security and affordability,” Senator Cormann told reporters.
“Obviously, before taking any potential project like this any further, it has to be properly assessed to ensure it stacks up.
“There are also potentially other options available to supply Western Australian gas to the eastern states market, which need to be considered at the same time.
“This could be a great opportunity for WA, but there is a lot of homework that needs to be done, to ensure we come up with the best, most appropriate way forward.”
A similar idea would see liquefied natural gas shipped over from WA to the east coast where a regasification plant can convert it back to a usable form.
The Government is also planning a feasibility study of a pipeline from the Northern Territory to South Australia.
“Clearly the economics do need to stack up, but we're very serious about investigating the potential for such infrastructure,” Federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg said of the west-east pipeline plan.
“Given there's an abundance of gas on the west coast, and a tightness in the east coast gas market, it would build on other projects the Government is looking at.
“[The gas companies] would meet the forecasted shortfalls in the gas market on the east coast from the summer of 2018-19 onwards.
“We looked at other measures and talked about other measures in relation to the transparency and liquidity in the domestic gas market, but clearly for the Government the current situation is unacceptable.”