Who owns Australia's gas ?  

Posted by Big Gav in ,

The Business Spectator has a look at efforts to try to reserve some of Australia's natural gas production for domestic consumption - Who owns Australia's gas?.

It’s on for young and old between the gas supply industry and the major gas users, with the latter continuously ratcheting up the heat.

In fact, it is a three-cornered contest now because both the federal government and the Coalition have signalled that they don’t want to intervene to reserve gas supplies for domestic use while the users are enlisting heavy hitters, such as Dow Chemical’s main man, Andrew Liveris, to tell them they are wrong.

In a new fusillade, the Perth-based DomGas Alliance, which started life as a Western Australian lobby group but is now chasing its concerns nationwide, has launched a report claiming that Australia is the only country in the world allowing “international oil companies to access and export natural gas without prioritising local supply.”

It sharpens its thrust by adding that Australia is also the only gas exporting country to experience shortages and sharply rising prices.

In a national economic environment where, no matter how often Wayne Swan exhorts us all to be happy, there are a large number of people unconvinced that they are sharing in the creation of new wealth and where manufacturers are obviously in strife, DomGas is pressing hard to get political knees to jerk at the state and federal level.

The cost-of-living button is always a good one to push in these disputes and DomGas has given it a good nudge with a claim that we are confronted with a rise of $5.3 billion in mainland state annual gas bills. (Why did they ignore poor Tassie, I wonder?)

DomGas bases this assertion on multiplying current gas demand by businesses and households with projected price rises – of $3 per gigajoule in the east and $5.50 in Western Australia.

The debate about higher gas costs (and higher electricity prices flowing from the use of gas by power stations) is not new in the West. It has been ongoing for several years.

However, driving this tale in to the media on the east coast is calculated to really pour on the pressure for the pollies, with a federal election looming and the big three states (in terms of consumers and consumption) all now in Coalition hands and manifestly jumpy about energy bills.

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