05 Jul 2024

Media Release: ACCC calls for urgent action to boost gas supply and avoid 2027 shortages

Today’s report from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has intensified warnings of looming gas shortfalls and urged governments at all levels to “focus on removing unnecessary impediments to developing new gas resources”.

Australian Energy Producers Chief Executive Samantha McCulloch said the latest edition of the Gas Inquiry report warned governments must act urgently to fast-track new gas supply projects, with shortfalls forecast to hit in 2027, a year earlier than previously estimated. 

“Governments cannot continue to ignore the warnings. Without immediate government action to address the looming gas supply crisis, millions of Australians face higher energy prices and the real risk of blackouts,” Ms McCulloch said.

“The ACCC report spells out the government actions needed to address long forecast shortfalls, including removing moratoria on new gas developments, speeding up approvals, and reducing the infrastructure, regulatory and capital barriers faced by producers.”

The introduction of price controls and the mandatory Gas Market Code delayed new supply projects and undermined the market certainty needed to support investment and address structural shortfalls. Even where gas has been committed under the Code, the ACCC highlights that “most of this potential supply is conditional on producers obtaining necessary regulatory approvals and making final investment decisions”.

The report, examining the fourth quarter of 2024, reaffirmed Australia’s gas industry continues to deliver on its commitment to the domestic market, estimating east coast supplies would be 7PJ in surplus.

However, New South Wales and Victoria – which have stifled investment with bans and regulatory uncertainty – would rely on other states for gas supply, despite having their own untapped gas resources.

“The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) warned that Victoria almost ran out of gas a fortnight ago because of strong demand for gas-fired power generation during a cold snap,” Ms McCulloch said.

“This should be a wake-up call that gas shortages and blackouts could happen as soon as this winter.”

Reports in recent weeks have only added to a long list of repeated warnings from AEMO and the ACCC about the need for investment in new gas supply to prevent structural shortfalls.

“Australia has abundant gas reserves but needs the political will to restore investment confidence and ensure timely approvals for much-needed new gas supply,” Ms McCulloch concluded.

Media Contact: Brad Thompson on 0401 839 227