The Victorian Labor government’s proposed ban on gas exploration will shut off gas reserves big enough to supply the east coast of Australia’s gas needs for almost 40 years.
Victoria’s Gippsland and Otway Basins together contain 27 trillion cubic feet of shale and tight gas reserves — more than double the currently identified total for Australia, according to new estimates from Geoscience Australia released yesterday.
The Andrews state government, backed by the Liberal opposition, intends to permanently ban fracking, a technique for extracting shale, tight and coal- seam gas. The ban, which was introduced into the parliament in November and includes a moratorium on exploration for conventional gas until 2020, has been criticised by business but strongly supported by farmers.
“I keep hearing from the state government that there are no gas reserves here but there are,” federal Resources Minister Matt Canavan said while touring regional Victoria yesterday.
“All I’ve heard today from small to large businesses is they can’t get access to reliable gas at any price.’’
The latest geographical energy supply inventory could embarrass Victoria’s Resources Minister, Wade Noonan, who wrote an article yesterday, saying: “Despite some claims, there are currently no proved or probable onshore gas reserves in Victoria, and this follows many years of commercial exploration.”
Mr Noonan yesterday announced $10 million in funding to investigate onshore conventional but not unconventional gas reserves.