Decisive action needed to avert energy crisis, says EUAA

The Energy Users Association of Australia (EUAA) has urged premiers and energy ministers to bring together large energy users and producers to curb soaring gas prices, to limit domestic access to long-term contracts and to open up new gas reserves.

The peak industry body for Australia’s energy users said the sector needs to do more to create awareness about the economic benefits of CSG, after the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) released a new report on the unconventional gas in New South Wales.

EUAA chief executive Phil Barresi said gas producers are not doing enough to education politicians and concerned rural communities about the safety and security around CSG mining. While supporting the report’s call for the lifting of restrictions on further development of CSG reserves, Mr Barresi also argues the APPEA study fails to say how this will improve eastern Australia’s access to gas energy.

“The EUAA backs the call for new reserves to be tapped conditional upon there being a demonstrated willingness by the producers to take local needs, such as access to long-term affordable gas contracts, into their considerations,” Mr Barresi said.

“This is not a call for domestic reservation but a call to ensure domestic needs are taken into account. We already have one supplier in NSW that has been banking its reserves.”

EUAA members are concerned about high prices flowing from restricted supplies.

“Local manufacturers are being stung and many will consider closing or moving overseas when further gas price hikes hit in 2015/16, leading to job losses in NSW,” Mr Barresi said.

The EUAA has urged NSW Energy Minister Chris Hartcher and NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell to call a crisis meeting before further damage is done to domestic industries.

“All parties need to get together to resolve the issues in an adult manner,” Mr Barresi said.