THE gas industry is exaggerating the number of jobs it has created, and is being insincere about the pending increase in prices, a report has found.
A study by The Australia Institute has questioned claims made by CSG lobby group the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association that the industry had created "more than 100,000 jobs" last year.
The institute said Australian Bureau of Statistics figures showed only 9372 additional jobs were created in the oil and gas industry last year.
The Australian reports Australia Institute senior economist Matt Grudnoff noted there were 173,537 jobs created across the nation last year, which would mean that if APPEA's claim was true, 58% of jobs created nationwide would have been in the gas industry.
"This would be a truly amazing achievement if it were true, and at the same time it would probably show that the growth in the Australian economy was extremely narrow, being focused almost entirely on the gas industry," Mr Grudnoff said.
The study also found the gas industry was being disingenuous about the impending gas shortage and increase in price.
It said the price rise was being caused by linking the eastern gas market with the world market through the three large LNG export facilities at Gladstone.
"At the moment gas producers in eastern Australia cannot export to the world market where the gas price is significantly higher," the report stated.
"The increase in gas supply caused by new CSG supply in Queensland has made the construction of the LNG export facilities viable.
"The price increase is therefore a result of our domestic market linking with the world market, and any increase in gas supply in Australia will affect the price only if it is large enough to lower the world price.
"Increasing CSG in NSW is unlikely to have a significant effect on the world price."
The study also found the gas industry had made no genuine effort to allay the fears of the broader public about coal seam gas, and this had given rise to high profile community groups that strongly opposed CSG for a number of reasons.
While many Australians held strong views against CSG, a surprising number were only vaguely aware of the issue.
In addition to feeling generally uninformed, many people also expressed unease about CSG because of the controversy surrounding it, but a survey conducted by the institute found that more than a third (36%) of people had not heard of coal seam gas.
The survey also showed that CSG was not an issue that many people thought of when asked about what politicians should give more attention to.
Only two per cent of respondents ranked CSG as their top choice when asked to select from a list of 15 issues they thought politicians should take action on.
THE Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association says The Australia Institute's latest attack on the oil and gas industry is undermined by its own research findings.
The association said while the Greens affiliated think tank critiqued the industry's efforts to explain the economic significance of natural gas production and use throughout the economy, its own survey findings showed Australians were almost 10 times more concerned by "economic growth and development" than they were about coal seam gas production.
APPEA director external affairs Michael Bradley said out of the 15 issues nominated by the institute, coal seam gas ranked 13th as a matter of concern, yet economic growth and development was the top priority of 18% of respondents.
"The natural gas industry will continue its public information campaign to explain to Australians the consequences of the actions advocated by groups such as The Greens and their partners at The Australia Institute," Mr Bradley said.
"Modelling by Deloitte Access Economics showed that the oil and gas industry was responsible for the creation of more than 100,000 jobs across the Australian economy last year.
"It also paid $8.8 billion in taxes, and more than four million Australian households and businesses are connected to the natural gas network."
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