Here it comes:
Anthony Albanese has set up a showdown with LNG companies after the consumer watchdog warned that gas exporters were putting jobs and businesses at risk from massive price hikes and record east coast shortages next year.
In a damning Australian Competition & Consumer Commission report released on Monday, cashed-up LNG exporters have been put on notice to plug a 56 petajoules shortfall or face sweeping regulatory intervention.
Jim Chalmers said the report revealed “alarming features of the east coast gas market”, with LNG companies predicted to drive shortages of 10 per cent of domestic demand next year, despite banking windfall profits on the back of $70bn in exports over 12 months.
“(The report) projects a significant gas shortfall for next year unless gas producers supply more of their uncontracted or excess gas to the domestic market,” Dr Chalmers said.
“It’s critical our domestic gas supply is secure and competitively priced, particularly when households and businesses are under extreme pressure. The ACCC has raised concerns about the level of competition in this market, and I welcome its commitment to look into this and take enforcement action as required.”
The broadside from the Albanese government sets up a showdown with LNG exporters, after Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association acting chief executive Damian Dwyer pushed back against “recent irresponsible calls to intervene in our gas export market”.
The oil and gas lobby chief, representing companies including Santos, Shell, Woodside, Origin and Chevron, said record economic gains and international partnerships with key Asian nations must be considered before forcing LNG producers to divert resources into domestic markets.
…Describing the situation as “extremely serious”, Dr Chalmers said the government was preparing a swift response to the ACCC recommendations, including his request to boost monitoring of energy markets.
Put a $7Gj price trigger in a renewed ADGSM and send Damian Dwyer a nice card.