PERTH (miningweekly.com) – The Victorian government is hoping to unlock more gas supply to provide residents in the state with greater access to affordable gas.
The state government on Friday announced that the Victorian Gas Programme (VGP) will be encouraging new commercial offshore gas exploration through the release of blocks in state waters between Port Campbell and the South Australian border.
Cooper Energy last month drilled the first new offshore well since 2012, with Resources Minister Tim Pallas saying that, from 2019, Gippslands’ Sole gasfield is expected to deliver enough additional annual supply to power a city the size of Geelong, for an entire year.
“The VGP is delivering a better picture of Victoria’s potential gas resources, to potentially expand supply in the future. We’ve banned fracking and are focusing on safe, tried and tested methods to improve access to natural gas and lower the state’s energy costs,” Pallas said.
The VGP is also undertaking scientific investigations on the potential for more underground gas storage between Warrnambool and Port Campbell to help alleviate future demand peaks.
In addition, the Victorian government has approved the expansion of the Lochard Energy Iona gas plant, in Port Campbell, which Pallas said would help secure more reliable natural gas supplies and would mitigate short-term price peaks.
The expansion has been authorised under Lochard Energy’s existing licence and is not subject to the conventional onshore gas moratorium, which is in place until 2020, as it did not entail the extraction of new gas.
The process used at the Iona plant also did not relate to fracking or unconventional processes, which have been banned in Victoria.