ACCC predicts east coast gas surplus in 2024

20th September 2023 By: Esmarie Iannucci - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Australasia

ACCC predicts east coast gas surplus in 2024

Photo by: Bloomberg

PERTH ( – The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has revealed that Australia’s east coast gas market should have a 1.4 petajoule (PJ) surplus in the first quarter of 2024, even if the liquefied natural gas (LNG) producers export all their uncontracted gas.

In its interim gas inquiry report, the ACCC forecasts the supply and demand balance for the east coast market for wholesale gas between January and March next year, which is a period of high LNG export demand and reduced residential gas heating demand due to warmer weather.

On a regional basis, Australia’s southern states are forecast to have about a 3 PJ surplus to meet local demand, but Queensland will need about 1 PJ of additional gas to meet its local demand if the LNG producers export all their uncontracted gas.

“We expect gas swap arrangements will play an important role in balancing gas supply needs across 2024,” ACCC commissioner Anna Brakey said.

“The LNG producers have entered into gas swap arrangements with other gas businesses to access additional gas for export during the summer months. Under these arrangements, they will then return the gas to market in higher demand periods, such as the winter months.”

Recent investments in key pipeline infrastructure have also made it easier to transport gas between northern and southern states, and additional upgrades currently underway are expected to be completed by winter next year.

Australian Energy Producers (AEP), previously the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association, said the ACCC report confirmed that the gas industry was fulfilling its domestic supply commitment.

“The ACCC has confirmed surpluses in the east coast gas market through to 2024, highlighting the gas industry’s commitment to ensure domestic supply to Australian households and businesses is being delivered,” said AEP CEO Samantha McCulloch.

“Natural gas plays a critical role in the economy. It is keeping the lights on and powering major industries such as manufacturing where gas supplies around 40% of the energy used.”

While the report provides a positive outlook for the next six months, the ACCC did not update their long-term outlook with forecast shortfalls still likely from 2027 unless production is expanded.

“The ACCC is clearly still aware of the risks to the market of unexpected surges in gas demand if coal or renewable generation is unavailable as well as the need for new gas supply to reduce the risks of shortfalls in coming years,” McCulloch said.

“New gas supply is urgently needed and can put downward pressure on prices, reduce emissions by replacing coal and deliver substantial economic benefits to Australians. Investment is particularly needed in the southern states of New South Wales and Victoria where huge populations rely on gas.”