PERTH (miningweekly.com) – The Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (Appea) has called on the federal government to use its 2023/24 Budget to encourage investment in new gas supply and emissions reduction measures to put sustained downward pressure on gas prices, help deliver energy security, and fast-track the path to net zero.
In its federal Budget submission, Appea said that ensuring a dependable investment environment would deliver more benefits to Australians.
The industry body also called for a national carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) roadmap to provide clear policy direction, identify and progress priority hubs for low emissions projects and promote Australia as a regional carbon storage leader.
“Capturing and permanently storing emissions from industrial facilities, including hydrogen production, and directly from the atmosphere makes the most of our world class geological resources and is critical to reaching net zero,” Appea CEO Samantha McCulloch said.
Appea also called on the government to encourage investment in new gas supply to meet demand and drive down prices, rather than "interventionist policies" which the industry body said had the opposite effect.
Key measures include letting the market work to bring down prices; progressing new acreage releases; encouraging New South Wales and Victoria to lift moratoriums which are contributing to the highest gas prices in the country; and giving major project status to new supply and low emissions technology projects.
“Australia’s natural gas is essential to ensuring a future energy system that is secure, reliable and affordable, and to reaching net zero,” McCulloch said.
“The significant contribution from the sector underpins state and federal investment in roads, schools and hospitals, allowed Australia to weather the economic downturn and will play a role in our economic success for decades to come.
“But the value of our energy resources and their contribution to the economy, jobs and net zero cannot be taken for granted and clear and stable policies are essential to provide industry with confidence to invest in the new energy supplies needed.
“The recent government price cap intervention, combined with the proposed Mandatory Code of Conduct, lets the government permanently determine gas prices.
“This, along with ongoing legal hurdles and delays for new oil and gas projects, create significant uncertainty and make investors nervous to allocate new capital to the sector and the economy.
“The government should take note of the lessons from the price cap implementation when considering permanent regulation of gas prices through a mandatory Code of Conduct. It would send a positive signal to investors to recommit to an open, market-based economy.”
Appea is also calling for the government to keep the scope of the proposed Environmental Protection Agency consistent with its pre-election commitments, while removing existing duplication under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, avoiding new duplication, and streamlining approvals.
“We want to improve environmental standards and build business certainty, avoiding added costs to project approvals and delays at a time when new supply is so important,” McCulloch said.
Edited by: Creamer Media Reporter
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