Australia's domestic natural gas shortage expected to worsen

Source: Xinhua| 2017-09-25 13:40:08|Editor: Mengjie
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SYDNEY, Sept. 25 (Xinhua) -- Australia's national energy regulator has warned the federal government on Monday that the domestic supply of liquified natural gas (LNG) is at risk of a "supply shortfall."

The Australian Energy Market Operator's (AEMO) annual projections forecast a shortage of 54 petajoules in 2018 and 107 petajoules in 2019, which represents one-sixth of the country's total demand each year.

AEMO chief executive Audrey Zibelman said the findings "suggest there is a need to look at reforms to improve predictability and stability in energy markets to the benefit of consumers."

Shorty after the report was made public, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced that the government would enact a policy to restrict export and reserve supply for the domestic market, if the country's LNG producers did not attempt to fix the problem.

"We expect them to demonstrate to us what they have already indicated in meetings and in writing that they will ensure that there is not a shortage of gas next year on the east coast," Turnbull said.

"If they are able to do that to the satisfaction of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commision (ACCC), then the foreshadowed export control mechanism will have done its work."

But according to some experts, addressing the issue may be proven difficult for Aussie gas companies.

"The decisions to export gas were made at a time when the rules were different," CMC Markets' chief market strategist Michael McCarthy explained to Xinhua.

"Now the whole time frame in developing this industry has been disrupted because plans to develop gas fields take years and years and huge amounts of investments, because investors naturally look for a stable and certain regulatory environment."