Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

Gas Supply Inquiry Starts; Doubts Cast over AGL's Prediction of Three-Week Shortage in NSW

Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

Gas Supply Inquiry Starts; Doubts Cast over AGL's Prediction of Three-Week Shortage in NSW

Article excerpt

Byline: Chris Calcino APN Newsdesk

THE New South Wales Government is scrambling to bolster energy sources after claims the state could face three weeks without guaranteed gas supply in winter next year.

A Parliamentary inquiry into the supply and cost of gas in NSW kicks off today, with dozens of submissions coming from miners, farmers, businesses and activist groups.

The State Government report vowed to reverse the current supply chain, in which 95% of gas used in NSW is sourced from outside the state borders.

It said all current proposed major gas projects in NSW (Narrabri, Gloucester and Camden) had committed to providing gas produced to the state's own industrial and household domestic consumers.

"These projects could supply up to 80% of our gas demand," it stated.

The NSW Government has also entered into a memorandum of understanding with the Northern Territory to examine possibilities of developing a gas pipeline between the state's gas reserves and NSW's coast.

"The Government will also investigate opportunities to increase pipeline capacity from Victoria and South Australia to help alleviate supply issues faced by NSW," the submission stated.

Earlier this month, gas company AGL warned NSW could face 21 days of gas shortages in winter next year unless restrictions on coal seam gas developments were lifted.

The same claims were made in its submission to today's hearing, with places like Greater Western Sydney, the Central Coast and regional areas, including Newcastle and Bathurst, predicted to be most at risk.

The company said allowing its Gloucester gas project to be developed, which could supply 15% of the state's gas needs, would increase the net value of NSW's gross domestic product to 2035 by $968 million, and reduce wholesale gas prices in Sydney by 8% in 2025.

Lock the Gate Alliance campaign co-ordinator Carmel Flint will be the first speaker at today's hearing.

In her submission, she argued mining additional gas in NSW would have little impact on prices because the Eastern Australian market is focused on export and is dominated by inflated Asian prices. …

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