Award Banner
Award Banner

Australia's east faces immediate gas shortage amid cold snap, outage

Australia's east faces immediate gas shortage amid cold snap, outage
Gas demand has surged while the weather conditions have hampered wind and solar power output in Australia.
PHOTO: Pixabay

SYDNEY — Australia's east is facing a gas shortage after a cold snap drove up demand for heating and power while supply dipped due to an extended outage at the region's main gas plant, the country's energy market operator said.

To help boost supply, the market operator has asked gas producers in Queensland state, which include Shell, Origin Energy and Santos, to send gas to other states.

The Australian Energy Market Operator (Aemo), in a notice issued late on June 19, warned of heightened risks of gas supply shortfalls during Australia's winter months.

"The supply of gas in all or part of the east coast gas system may be inadequate to meet demand," the notice said.

Gas demand has surged for power generation at the same time as heating while the weather conditions have hampered wind and solar power output, the market operator said.

Demand jumped just as the main gas plant that supplies the south-eastern states, Longford, jointly owned by ExxonMobil's Esso and Woodside Energy, had to cut production more than forecast for extended maintenance work, Aemo said.

Australia considers gas a critical element in its transition to cleaner energy as the country moves rapidly away from its dependence on coal-fired power stations, and has been reaching new gas deals to plug the gaps in long-term supply.

But the market operator has been warning about potential gas shortages, calling for urgent new investment to prevent any shortfall.

Australia's Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said Energy Minister Chris Bowen would work with Aemo and the energy industry to manage gas supply. The market operator held talks with the gas industry on June 20, an Aemo spokesperson said.

Shell, Origin and Santos spokespersons did not immediately respond to requests seeking comment.

"We will work those issues through with Aemo... this is not the first time that (it) has been declared," Albanese told ABC television, but said the country does need more gas in the east.

Australia produces more gas than it needs to meet its domestic demands, but most supply is contracted for export.

ALSO READ: New Zealand to introduce bill to reverse oil and gas exploration ban

This website is best viewed using the latest versions of web browsers.