Gas cartel runs wild as nation lost in nuclear


Truly, this is incredible.

As Dutton’s nuclear fantasy grips the media, the only actual problem with the Australian energy transition—the gas cartel—has run wild.

Freed of scrutiny by the nuclear “debate”, the gas price has moonshot to $20Gj:

There is no comparable move in global markets:


And the local electricity price has erupted right alongside gas, which is normal:

Where is Resources Minister Mad King and the Australian Domestic Gas Security Mechanism (ADGSM)?


Proving that Australia has entered the energy Twilight Zone, the media is instead busy asking the gas cartel to advise them on nuclear. On the right, there is this:

Origin Energy’s Frank Calabria, for one, is well down the path with a commitment to build up to 5GW of wind, solar and battery capacity. Speaking at The Australian’s Energy Nation Forum, Calabria remained tactful, saying he was happy for nuclear to be part of the debate. But for him, the technology is not without challenges.

Of course, our Frank is cool on nuclear. As a member of the gas export cartel, he plans to strangle the gas supply via excess exports. Then, gouge electricity at home with the assets that will benefit most.

On the left, there is this:


The Grattan Institute’s energy and climate change program director, Tony Wood, said the Coalition had not backed up its claim that nuclear generation would be a cheaper option. “There’s nothing in what we’ve seen so far that would substantiate the claims that it’s going to be a certain price at a certain time,” he said.

Wood rejected the Coalition’s claim that electricity was expensive today due to Labor’s renewable energy policies. “It’s not true,” he said.

He said electricity prices leapt 20% last year due to Russia’s assault on Ukraine pushing up fossil fuel prices, a lack of available gas, old coal plants having unscheduled outages and extreme weather leading to some coalmines being flooded. He said they had since started to come back down.

Grattan Institute is sponsored by Frank’s Origin, and Wood is a former Origin executive. It was Wood who was so strident in 2013 in preventing gas reservation for the East Coast, the original sin that derailed the energy transition.

Finally, the warnings for the gaspocalypse are loud and clear:

Delta Group, which runs the Vales Point coal power station in NSW’s Hunter Valley, said the gas situation was very tight. “We’re right on the edge. We actually need to be building things now. We’re very, very tight,” Delta Group chief executive Richard Wrightson told the forum.


“If you’ve got a very strong green bent about you and you want this transition to occur, the worst thing that can happen right now is for the lights to go out and power prices to go up.”

Not only are they going to go up, but the lights are going to go out.

The nation has no leadership to prevent it.

About the author
David Llewellyn-Smith is Chief Strategist at the MB Fund and MB Super. David is the founding publisher and editor of MacroBusiness and was the founding publisher and global economy editor of The Diplomat, the Asia Pacific’s leading geo-politics and economics portal. He is also a former gold trader and economic commentator at The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, the ABC and Business Spectator. He is the co-author of The Great Crash of 2008 with Ross Garnaut and was the editor of the second Garnaut Climate Change Review.