Santos' GLNG project at Curtis Island.
Santos' GLNG project at Curtis Island.

Looming gas shortage is a "total failure'

AN ENERGY analyst has described Australia's looming gas shortage as a "total failure" and that the government should have seen it coming.

Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis Bruce Robertson said the problem dates back to the approval of Gladstone's LNG export, which allowed companies on the east coast to ship their gas overseas for the first time.

Mr Robertson said a government report Blueprint for Queensland's LNG Industry, which was published in August 2009, noted that allowing gas to be converted from coal seam gas into liquefied natural gas (LNG) for export, might not deliver enough gas for domestic use.

It advised the Queensland Government, under the leadership of Labor's Anna Bligh at the time, to ensure there was enough gas available to met domestic demand.

It listed options including holding back production in certain areas to supply Australia's needs.

"There is a real problem that the availability of gas in the ground may not translate into gas supplied to the domestic market," the paper stated.

Despite this potential problem being flagged, Mr Robertson said the government took a "cavalier" attitude of pushing forward with the project.

He said any other country that allowed a company to dig up its resources and profit from this, would also have ensured its own domestic supply was covered.

"Australia is unique in its sheer stupidity in allowing companies to exploit our resources and not insist they provide for our domestic market," he said.

"We are uniquely stupid."

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