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Western Australia will need a new gas supply to effectively phase out coal from electricity, an energy research firm has said.

In an article in the 2024 Australian Energy Producers Journal, Rystad Energy said that the case for new supply was “extremely strong”, given the forecast shortfalls that could “reduce the competitiveness of Western Australia’s gas-intensive industries”. 

The journal has been released as part of the 2024 Australian Energy Producers Conference and Exhibition in Perth. 

Rystad Energy said that Western Australia needs eight to ten trillion cubic feet (TCF) of gas through to 2050, but that current supply is due to only cover approximately five TCF.

Rystad Energy said, “In the absence of further supply, this will challenge Western Australia’s ambitions to become a minerals processing hub. 

“The attempt to ensure supply security could lead to coal generation phase-outs in Western Australia being pushed back, which would jeopardise the state and Australia’s interim emissions reduction targets.” 

Australian Energy Producers’ Western Australia Director, Caroline Cherry, said, “The state’s gas producers have delivered reliable and affordable energy for decades and are keen to invest in new supply. 

“But the right policy settings are needed to set the investment conditions so Western Australia’s reserves can be developed.  

“The state must explore for and develop new gas supplies if it wants to avoid energy market turmoil. 

“Streamlining approvals processes is one of the fastest ways to get new gas to market. Lifting the export ban for onshore projects will make more ventures viable and supply more gas to the domestic market.” 

In December 2023, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) warned of a decade of shortages in Western Australia due to growing demand driven by gas replacing coal in electricity and powering mining.  

AEMO also upgraded projected gas demand growth to 2.2 per cent annually over the next decade, up from 1.7 per cent forecast in 2023. 

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