Households in eastern Australia are about to be hit with more gas price increases which could see wholesale prices triple, according to new research from The Australia Institute.
The independent think tank’s paper Cooking up a price rise finds that wholesale gas prices will rise from around $3 or $4 a gigajoule to around $9 a gigajoule.
“The increase is linked to plans to sell gas from eastern Australia overseas,” Senior Economist at The Australia Institute Matt Grudnoff said.
“The minute Australia’s domestic gas market is linked to the world gas market, the Australian price will increase.
“At the moment Australians pay relatively low prices for gas and that’s why the industry is so keen to sell it to foreign markets instead.”
The completion of the Gladstone liquefied natural gas facilities will enable gas companies in eastern Australia to sell gas overseas for the first time.
“Many in the gas industry would like us to believe that public opposition to coal seam gas (CSG) is the reason for the impending price increases. But it’s the determination of the gas industry to sell to the highest bidder,” Mr Grudnoff said.
“Interestingly, it’s not a lack of supply that is going to drive up gas prices. It’s the introduction of CSG as a new form of supply.”
The report finds that without new CSG developments providing an additional source of gas, it’s unlikely that gas production in eastern Australia would be large enough to justify the construction of the export facilities needed to sell gas overseas.
“Once gas from eastern Australia is being sold overseas, consumers will be at the mercy of world prices and domestic production will have little impact,” Mr Grudnoff said.
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