14 Dec 2023

Media Release: New WA gas supply critical to avoid blackouts and higher prices

The need for new gas supply in Western Australia is becoming increasingly urgent, with the state and federal governments warned to unlock the state’s abundant reserves or face blackouts and higher prices.

The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) today reveals growing demand for gas for at least a decade as it “reaffirms the critical role of gas in supplying WA’s energy needs, including to support the transition to net zero.”

However, supply shortages loom as soon as next year – risking energy shortfalls and upward pressure on prices for WA households and businesses.

The 2023 Western Australian Gas Statement of Opportunities (GSOO) found domestic supply would run short of demand from next year to 2029 before shortfalls returned in 2030 and worsened (see Figure 1).

Australian Energy Producers WA Director Caroline Cherry said: “Governments must unlock new gas to avoid blackouts and higher prices.

“WA has an abundance of gas reserves but the state needs the political will to help unlock more of it – and quickly.

“The increasingly dire warnings strengthen the case for urgent policies to support new supply development.

“The State Government must rethink its ban on onshore projects from accessing export markets.

As Rystad Energy recently found, allowing onshore gas projects to export expands the number of viable projects – unlocking new domestic supply and reducing the domestic price.

“The Australian Government also needs to urgently fix the broken offshore approvals system impacting major energy supply projects and threatening our economic security.

“It is simply bewildering that WA could potentially be relying on diverting LNG exports when there is so much untapped gas and so many economic benefits from developing new supply.”

As shown in the above table from the report, WA’s gas demand is expected to increase by 2.2 per cent annually over the next decade – up from 1.7 per cent forecast last year – and outstripping a 0.9 per cent annual decline for supply.

Ms Cherry said: “Today’s report underscores the importance of new gas supply to power WA’s growing resources industry and support the South West electricity system as coal-fired power is phased out.

“Our industry welcomes the state’s recent pledge to streamline environmental approvals.

“This spirit must also inform its response to the WA Domestic Gas Inquiry – new supply must be the outcome.”

Media Contact:  0435 113 224