Joint media release: Gas code secures supply for domestic market

Joint media release with the Hon Chris Bowen MP, Minister for Climate Change and Energy.

The Albanese Government continues to deliver on its commitment to strengthen energy security and keep gas prices low to help households and industry as we move to a more renewable energy grid.

Two new enforceable commitments totalling up to 300 PJ of gas to 2030, and close to 140 PJ to the end of 2027 from APLNG and Senex have been secured to supply more gas to the east coast domestic gas market, with other commitments well advanced.

300PJ is equivalent to around two years of east coast industrial usage.

The energy market operator and ACCC have warned that we will not have enough gas to power factories, generate power, cook and heat homes in 2027. These supply agreements help guard against that outcome and are crucial for avoiding a serious problem.

It is reckless of the Greens and any opposition and cross bench parties to play politics with people’s livelihoods in this way.

This supply is critical for households, industry and gas power generation as the Bass Strait fields deplete.

While Australian gas producers and users welcome the certainty the code provides, its full implementation remains at risk due to the reckless attempt of the Greens to disallow the code in Parliament because they oppose new gas supply, even when it is committed to the domestic market to help meet forecast shortfalls.

If disallowed, these commitments from APLNG and Senex would no longer apply, threatening this supply into the east coast market and creating untenable shortfall risk.

Energy Users Association of Australia have said: “The Code of Conduct is a vital protection for Australian households and business and should have bipartisan support. We implore Senators to vote in favour of the gas code to help protect millions of Australian families and business and ensure they get a fair deal from the gas industry.”

APLNG and Senex have been granted Ministerial Exemptions from the pricing provisions of the Gas Market Code of Conduct, giving the companies regulatory certainty over their investment and development plans – and the additional supply helping to keep a lid on prices.

Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen said the outcome was a win for Australian energy users.

“The new commitments will provide more affordable gas to the Australian market in the short to medium term and will provide the energy security that Australia needs as it makes its transition to net zero emissions," he said.

“If the Greens and Liberals team up and disallow the code and scrap these commitments, it will threaten energy security for millions of households and thousands of manufacturing jobs across the country. 

"That kind of reckless and pointless peacocking risks domestic gas supply, higher prices, as well as manufacturing jobs and the energy transition.”

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Madeleine King said the supply commitments are a good example of how industry and government can work together to solve issues.

“The role of gas is changing in the Australian economy, and as it changes, gas will continue to play an important role in the reliability and stability of the energy system," she said.

“The flexibility of gas as a firming fuel and as essential manufacturing and minerals processing input will be required as the transition accelerates domestically and in our region.

“These commitments also mean that gas producers can get on with the job of safely and responsibly delivering gas to users, while reassuring project investors and our export partners that Australia remains a stable and reliable supplier of energy,” Minister King said.

These are the first of several applications expected to be made under the new Code. The Government will continue to work closely with industry and users to shore up energy security.

The ACCC will publish information on the specific commitments, which are legally enforceable. Companies will regularly report compliance to the ACCC for inclusion in the ACCC’s quarterly gas outlook report, and non-compliance with exemption conditions attracts the highest penalties available under the Code.

The Mandatory Gas Market Code of Conduct came into force in July this year and will be reviewed no later than 2025.