Australia’s major gas companies agree to fill in the domestic shortage in the country’s gas market. This saves the government from enacting the export control trigger it announced in June 2017.
Shortage of gas is a major issue in the Australian society in recent times. To combat the issue, the Turnbull government passed a law in June 2017. The law allows it to limit exports from any of the three LNG plants on the east coast whenever it recognizes a shortage.
The recent announcement by the companies acts as a temporary barrier against the law.
The decision was made at a meeting attended by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, his deputy Barnaby Joyce, and the energy minister Josh Frydenberg.
At the meeting, companies like Santos, Origin Energy, and Shell agreed to quarantine additional supply from the gas market.
Turnbull described it as a “very constructive meeting” and “a good outcome” but continued his former attacks on New South Wales (NSW) and Victoria for their gas moratorium policies.
Turnbull said, “The failure of Victoria and NSW to unlock their onshore gas resources means more gas will have to be shipped south at greater expense. It will mean that Victorians and residents of NSW will be paying more.”
The agreement with the companies means the government no longer needs to execute its plan to block export of gas. The plan had earlier run into complications on account of the citizenship issues that plagued parliament earlier this year.
Since Matt Canavan’s resignation Barnaby Joyce is the minister responsible for pulling the trigger on the export policy. However, questions have been raised over Joyce’s eligibility to sit in parliament.
For now, the crises has been averted and the export controls are not likely to be invoked for 2018.