Danger of new thickets of gas regulation
Peter Roberts' "Globalised gas pricing has local costs" (Talking Point, January 30) applauds the commonwealth's National Energy Security Assessment, which advocates using export controls on gas.
The objective of this is to ensure that domestic consumers obtain supplies at less than the world price.
Roberts argues that dedicating a proportion of gas supplies for domestic use will allow more jobs by diverting exports of gas for electricity production for gas allocated to industrial processes.
In supporting this protectionist approach, Roberts fails to make the connection with the carbon tax, which penalises domestic but not overseas users of local supplies of coal and gas. This places a far greater penalty on Australian domestic energy supplies than any advantage that export controls could offer.
Moreover, he says wely in can say goodbye to $4 a gigajoule gas at a time when the United States price has dropped to under $3. Technology is unlocking formeraccessible coal seam and shale gas and is creating a glut. Australia has valuable gas resources in coal and shale, but so have many other countries.
If we insist that project approvals should be conditional on diversion of supplies to local users at preferred prices, this cost imposition will reduce Australian development in these highly prospective fields as well as confronting investors with new and unwanted thickets of regulation.