Western Australia Premier Urges Action from Gas Companies Amid Looming Shortage

Western Australia faces gas shortage as 90% of its gas is exported royalty-free, prompting Premier to urge companies to develop unused fields or risk losing licenses.

Geeta Pillai
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Western Australia Premier Urges Action from Gas Companies Amid Looming Shortage

Western Australia Premier Urges Action from Gas Companies Amid Looming Shortage

On Saturday, Western Australia Premier Roger Cook called on oil and gas companies holding licenses for large offshore reserves to take immediate action, as the state faces an impending gas shortage. The Premier's plea comes amidst growing concerns over the state's gas supply and the industry's practices.

Research conducted by the Australia Institute has revealed that 90% of Western Australia's gas is exported, mostly royalty-free, while local customers are confronted with higher prices and potential shortages.

Mark Ogge, the institute's principal adviser, criticized the government for allowing multinational gas corporations to export the majority of the state's gas without paying royalties, effectively depriving Western Australian taxpayers of the benefits.

The Australia Institute argues that the 'confected gas shortage' is a ploy by global oil and gas companies to justify new export projects and gouge consumers, despite Western Australia being 'awash with gas'. "While Western Australian customers are facing higher gas prices, the gas industry is effectively given the state's resources for free," Ogge stated in a full-page advertisement published in The West Australian.

Premier Cook is urging the Commonwealth to use its 'use it or lose it' powers to compel companies to develop their unused gas fields off the state's northwest coast within a five-year timeframe, or risk losing their retention licenses. The WA government emphasizes the importance of ensuring a consistent gas supply for major domestic manufacturers and the state's vision for local downstream processing of critical minerals.

Why this matters: The gas shortage in Western Australia has far-reaching implications for the state's economy, energy security, and the future of its manufacturing and mining industries. The Premier's call for action highlights the need for a balanced approach to resource development that benefits both the state and its residents.

The upcoming annual general meeting of Woodside, one of Australia's largest gas producers, is expected to feature industry spin, and the Australia Institute is urging Western Australians to demand the truth about the gas industry. Premier Cook reiterated the WA government's commitment to working with the federal government to improve the offshore petroleum regime and deliver on the objectives of the Future Gas Strategy, ensuring that resources are developed to meet the state's gas needs for both export and domestic use.

Key Takeaways

  • WA Premier calls on oil/gas firms to develop unused offshore gas fields or lose licenses.
  • 90% of WA's gas is exported royalty-free, depriving taxpayers of benefits.
  • Alleged 'confected gas shortage' used to justify new export projects and higher prices.
  • WA govt urges federal govt to use 'use it or lose it' powers to ensure domestic supply.
  • Upcoming Woodside AGM expected to feature industry spin, calls for transparency.