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Byron Shire
March 1, 2021

Mythical gas shortage

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Adam Guise, Lismore

The myth of a gas shortage that Martin Nicholson (letters 15/3) promotes is one perpetuated by industry lobbyists and has been taken up by the NSW government to put false fears into the people of NSW.

Far from it; Australia has abundant gas supplies, both conventional and unconventional, which are more than sufficient to supply existing domestic markets.

This has been confirmed by BHP Billiton Petroleum chief Mike Yeager, who stated back in May 2012 that ‘the Bass Strait field still has a large amount of [conventional] gas that’s undeveloped’ and that there’s plenty of gas to supply the eastern states ‘indefinitely’.

The deception of government and industry is apparent in light of the fact that half of Australia’s gas production is exported. Staggeringly, industry plans to triple its exports by 2020, which for Queensland, means 84 per cent of its LNG will be for export. Queensland itself plans to export 10 times the gas NSW needs.

If what we witness in Queensland is any indication of how the industry would have operated in NSW, gas prices tied to a global market will force up domestic gas prices, refuting the claim that domestic gas supplies will lead to cheaper gas prices.

The myth of a gas shortage is a more a crisis of failed government policy to ensure that Australia’s gas is reserved for domestic use. Instead of flogging off a non-renewable resource for marginal returns, the NSW government should implement a domestic reservation policy like EVERY other country in the world.

Better still, rather than mining more polluting fossil fuels, the NSW government should roll out renewable energies such as solar thermal and wind, which are free and inexhaustible. As demonstrated by Beyond Zero Emissions’ Zero Stationary Energy Plan, baseload solar thermal and wind would make Australia’s stationary energy sector zero carbon within a decade, create jobs and export renewable energy expertise to the world. This is what should be powering Australian homes and business, not another dirty fossil fuel.

 


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