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WA bans new LNG exports from Perth Basin

By James Plumb and Alison Cooper / 18 August 2023
3 min.
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The WA Government has thrown a curveball at the State’s onshore oil and gas industry by announcing that it will no longer consider applications from gas producers to export liquefied natural gas (LNG). 

In this article, Partner James Plumb, Senior Associate Alison Cooper and Solicitor Sophie Maitland from HopgoodGanim’s Resources & Energy team discuss the latest update to the WA Domestic Gas Policy (Policy).  

In a ‘public notice’ published to its website on 15 August 2023, the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation (Department) has indicated that it will no longer consider exemptions from the Policy for onshore gas developments on the existing pipeline network to export LNG, including those in the Perth Basin.1 As a result, all future gas projects in the Perth Basin will be restricted to supplying gas solely for domestic consumption within WA. Projects in the Canning Basin, and therefore not connected to the existing pipeline network, will remain subject to the normal application of the Policy, which requires gas project developers to make 15% of all gas production available to the domestic market. 

This latest update to the Policy signifies a further tightening of WA’s onshore gas market, following the August 2020 decision to prevent the export of onshore gas in the absence of ‘exceptional circumstances’. Three years later, the ‘exceptional circumstances’ exemption has now been abolished for certain projects. 

In publishing the announcement, the Department emphasised its intention to “safeguard and secure” WA’s gas supply and “support long-term economic and industrial development in the state”, which is reminiscent of recent comments made by the Federal Government in establishing the Mandatory Gas Code of Conduct for the East Coast Gas Market (Code). 

While this restriction on certain onshore gas projects may put WA gas buyers in a stronger position, it is yet to be seen how the new Policy setting will impact future plans for development and, ultimately, levels of gas supply in the state. 

The introduction of these latest updates to the Policy, together with the recent enactment of the Code, demonstrates the continued willingness for state and federal governments to intervene in Australia’s domestic gas market in a bid to secure adequate gas supply for domestic industry and consumers.   

For more information about how this latest update to the Policy may affect your company’s operations, please contact HopgoodGanim’s Resources and Energy team.


1. See Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation, ‘Update to Domestic Gas Policy’ (15 August 2023), available at: https://www.wa.gov.au/government/announcements/update-domestic-gas-policy

18 August 2023
Key Contacts
James Plumb
Partner
James is a Partner in our Resources, Energy and Projects practice.
Alison Cooper
Senior Associate
Alison is a Senior Associate in our Resources and Energy practice.

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