Australia: nat gas importer?

Energy industry bosses have described the prospect of Australia becoming a natural gas importer as “bizarre” and unbelievable as southern states led by Victoria brace for looming shortages…

In its latest snapshot of the Eastern States’ gas industry, the Australian Energy Market Operator also warned that shortages were likely to become more pronounced in 2026 and structural by 2028…

“All scenarios identify the urgent need for new investments to maintain supply adequacy,” AEMO said in its report.


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Politics, economics, or what?

The Captain

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There are more than 7 major LNG plants in various stages of operation and development

Darwin LNG
Gladstone LNG
Wheatstone LNG
Gorgon LNG
Pluto LNG


Each of these projects has a local gas distribution component. Somebody did not include non-linear consumption changes in their 20 year contract agreement with the energy producer.

Wheatstone and Gorgon in the northwest, for example, do have local gas distribution as part of their development, but there is no pipeline nor capacity to distribute more gas to more users.

Unless the new user was:

included in the original development plan
a pipeline can be routed to the user’s facility
there is available gas from the field
there is an ability to update a contract to support the change…

There is no reserve to supply.

Please note, there are literally 1000’s of kms between facility and “users”.

This is why it’s called stranded gas. It may well be MORE economic to buy gas through other means than to build a pipeline through the bush to supply another station user or industrial plant.

Not a video, but an image of your “user” for much of the continent.


The state of Victoria has led the charge away from fossil fuels. And, from the link: “Victoria has banned fracking through legislation since 2017.”

“While most of the production took place in Queensland, he noted most of the demand came from southern states such as Victoria, which were running out of their own supplies.”

“The question is whether demand can fall faster than supply,” Mr Morrison said.


Much of the gas is located in the shallow seas just off shore of Australia. as such, they are sometimes beyond the 12NM territory waters for any territory.

EEZ waters up to 200NM are governed (and managed) by the country.

This isn’t really the issue. The people are not where the gas is. The gas is not where the people are.

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According to the latest edition of the Statistical Review of World Energy, Australia produced 152.8 billion cubic meters of natural gas in 2022, while domestically consuming only 41.6 billion cubic meters.

If they can’t get natural gas to the southern areas, they will probably continue burning coal in order to keep the electric lights on. The original article mentions fracking bans for natural gas. Again, this is a boon for the coal producers, but I guess it doesn’t matter that coal is a much dirtier fuel than natural gas.

Below is the 2022 electricity mix for Australia from the International Energy Agency

Australia electricity sources, percent
Coal         49%
Natural Gas  18
Solar PV     13
Wind         11
Hydro         6
Other         3
  • Pete