New gas supply needed to fuel WA’s mining ambitions

Source: 5/20/2024, Location: Not categorized

Boosting new gas supply will be essential to fuel Western Australia’s plans to phase out coal from electricity and ensure affordable energy for minerals processing, according to a leading energy research firm.

In an article in the 2024 Australian Energy Producers Journal, Rystad Energy said the case for new supply was “extremely strong” given the forecast shortfalls that could “reduce the competitiveness of WA’s gas-intensive industries”.

WA needs 8 to 10 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of gas through to 2050 – but current supply was due to only cover about 5 TCF, the company said.

“In the absence of further supply, this will challenge WA’s ambitions to become a minerals processing hub,” Rystad Energy said.

“The attempt to ensure supply security could lead to coal generation phase-outs in WA being pushed back, which would jeopardize the state and Australia’s interim emissions reduction targets.”

The journal is released as part of the 2024 Australian Energy Producers Conference & Exhibition in Perth this week.

Australian Energy Producers WA Director Caroline Cherry said: “The state’s gas producers have delivered reliable and affordable energy for decades and are keen to invest in new supply.

“But the right policy settings are needed to set the investment conditions so WA’s reserves can be developed.

“The state must explore for and develop new gas supplies if it wants to avoid energy market turmoil.

“Streamlining approvals processes is one of the fastest ways to get new gas to market. Lifting the export ban for onshore projects will make more ventures viable and supply more gas to the domestic market.”

In December, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) warned of a decade of shortages in WA due to growing demand driven by gas replacing coal in electricity and powering mining.

AEMO also upgraded projected gas demand growth to 2.2 per cent annually over the next decade, up from 1.7 per cent forecast last year.

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