The Australian Government has outlined a program that it contends will help the country secure natural gas supplies over the next two decades.

“The National Gas Infrastructure Plan supports a strategic approach to gas infrastructure investment over the next 20 years and aims to guide industry to priority areas that need to be addressed to avoid a supply shortfall,” said Australia Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor.

Australia’s status as one of the world’s top liquefied natural gas exporters has stoked fears of a gas supply shortage along the country’s eastern tier.

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Taylor said the National Gas Infrastructure Plan (NGIP) signals to the market actions that will help to affordably and reliably keep Australian households and manufacturers supplied with gas and present a pathway for developing new reserves. 

The ministry stated NGIP includes the following “priority actions” for Australia’s east coast gas supply and infrastructure:

  • Bringing at least one new basin online before 2030 to meet projected east coast gas demand, with “critical basins to unlock” including the Narrabri gas project in New South Wales, the Beetaloo sub-basin in Northern Territory and the Galilee and North Bowen basins in Queensland;
  • Making “strategic expansions to existing pipeline capacity” and constructing new pipeline for transporting gas supplies to east coast markets;
  • Raising southbound transportation capacity as northern gas supply expands and southern supply declines.

“This will ensure our domestic gas prices remain internationally competitive,” said Taylor. “The United Kingdom and Europe have experienced price increases over 400% in recent months due to gas shortages.”

How Can Projects Get Government Aid?

In conjunction with NGIP, Australia’s government issued a “Future Gas Infrastructure Investment Framework” that  highlights principles for projects to potentially receive government support. In addition, it is urging industry to contribute to a new expression of interest (EOI) process to identify such government-backed projects — and accelerate their delivery.

“Unlocking basins and getting gas to where it is needed will support our job-creating industries,” said Taylor.

The EOI is targeting “critical” midstream gas projects that align with the NGIP and Investment Framework, the ministry said. It added the projects should “enhance competition in the market” and could support hydrogen, carbon capture and storage and biomethane.

“The government wants industry to make these investments, and the Investment Framework and EOI will allow us to take action to accelerate the development of critical projects” to the final investment decision stage, said Taylor.

NGIP integrates gas market modeling, analysis and stakeholder engagement to maximize benefits for gas consumers, said the ministry.