Gas storage facility

The minister’s decision was informed by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) March 2024 interim gas inquiry report. 

The report forecasts enough gas across the east coast to meet demand in the third quarter of 2024, even if liquid natural gas (LNG) producers export all of their uncontracted gas.

This means the government is confident that:

  • Australia’s gas market will likely have enough supply from July to September 2024.
  • While southern states are expected to need an additional 25 PJ to meet demand, there is enough storage and pipeline capacity to supply the southern markets.
  • Gas storage levels are well prepared for the winter.
  • Any domestic supply shortages can be resolved without reducing gas exports.

The ACCC report forecasts an east coast gas surplus of 6 petajoules for the third quarter, even if all uncontracted gas is exported. This is an improvement of 10 PJ from the ACCC’s December 2023 report.

The ACCC forecast does not include gas supply agreements and supply commitments gas producers made after 17 January 2024 to the domestic market under the Competition and Consumer (Gas Market Code) Regulations 2023. These commitments may increase the forecast surplus.

The ACCC report draws on gas demand data from the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) 2024 Gas statement of opportunities report. 

This report confirms an improved gas supply outlook in coming years. Introduction of the mandatory Gas Market Code has bolstered this outlook. AEMO says the Code is set to deliver ’a total of 564 PJ of potential new domestic gas supply to 2033’. Recent projects to expand storage and pipeline capacity will also alleviate seasonal shortfalls in southern markets. 

Data from AEMO’s Gas Bulletin Board also informed the minister’s decision. At 13 March 2024, storage levels in the most important facilities were well prepared to support the southern market over winter: 

  • Iona Underground was at 91% capacity (22.1 PJ in storage)
  • Dandenong was at 85% capacity and actively filling (0.57 PJ in storage)
  • Newcastle was at 68% capacity (0.99 PJ in storage) and actively filling.