February 19, 2021

Gas market transparency requires effective collaboration, not duplication

The first two months of 2021 — and what’s to come — have underscored just how transparent Australia’s east coast gas market is. 

An updated Heads of Agreement (HoAwith three east coast gas suppliers made in December 2020 continued the industry’s commitment to local markets. 

Earlier this week, the ACCC released its latest Gas Inquiry Interim report, showing for the ninth consecutive time that there is no shortfall in domestic gas supplies.  

And the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) just released its Wholesale Markets Quarterly report for the fourth quarter of 2020. The report found that for the first time since 2015 calendar year gas prices were less than $6/GJ across all markets in 2020. 

But for regulations to be effective it is essential that they are streamlined and straightforward; coordination and information sharing are the keys to efficient regulation and improved market transparency, not duplication and red tape. 

There is no deficit of available information currently available within the Australian oil and gas industry, and it is counterproductive to duplicate processes for projects that are already subject to sufficient regulation. Detailed information pertaining to Australian oil and gas projects is reported in detail by the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (DISER) on an annual basis, including projects completed in the 12-month period prior to reporting. 

Publicly listed producers provide regular financial reportvia the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) and appropriate state regulatory industries. In addition, APPEA members (and other gas producers) report reserve and resource estimates to on an ongoing basis to national, state, and territory regulators; and a wealth of information is available from energy market analysts such as Core EnergyEnergy Edge, and EnergyQuest. 

Furthereach and every day, spot prices for Australian gas are published in real time by AEMO on its Gas Market Bulletin Board.  

As we move further into 2021  amid challenging global economic conditions and difficult decisions about where to invest  it is worth remembering the extent of existing regulatory and reporting regimes as they standand where we can seek to improve reporting processes through streamlining and engagement, rather than needless duplication that only serves to hinder industry and consumers alike.