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PESA ACT/NSW August Technical Lunch

Tuesday, 8 August, 2023 @ 12:00 pm - 2:30 pm (Australia/Sydney time)

$10.00 – $75.00

Guest Speaker(s): Dennis Moreton

Mr Morton is a geologist with over 45 years experience in the management of oil and gas companies. He is currently the Managing Director of ASX listed company Gas2Grid Limited (2008- 2023) with current and past assets in Australia, NZ, Philippines and France.

Mr Morton is also Executive Chairman of ASX listed Jade Has Holdings Limited a company with extensive rights to Permian age coal seam gas assets in southern Mongolia including Tavantolgoi, Shivee Gobi and Eastern Gobi.

Mr Morton was a founder and CEO and Managing Director of ASX listed Eastern Star Gas Limited (2000-2007). The Company’s assets included coal seam gas and conventional petroleum projects at Narrabri and elsewhere in NSW and also in Victoria.

Mr Morton was also a founder and major shareholder of SAPEX Limited, which listed on the ASX in 2006 and merged with ASX listed Linc Energy in 2008. Prior to his role at Eastern Star Gas, Mr Morton worked for companies including Eastern Energy Australia Pty Ltd, Hartogen Group of Companies and Esso/Exxon where his roles traversed technical and management capacities across most Australian oil and gas basins, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Papua New Guinea and onshore USA.

Mr Morton holds a Bachelor of Arts – Geology with First Class Honours in 1974 from the Macquarie University, Sydney.

Federal Government False Narrative About Cause of East Coast Gas Supply Shortage, Gas Price Cap and Gas Reservation

I have major concerns about the prevalence of misinformation spread by politicians, leaders at the UN and the media. Evidence-based decision making has been replaced by emotional beliefs, with politicians and senior bureaucrats spreading false information without being held accountable. The mainstream media prioritises sensational news over evidence-based reporting and avoids conducting in-depth research. The ABC and SBS, two taxpayer-funded media outlets, solely presenting one-sided and propagandistic reporting rather than a balanced, evidence based narrative.

The reason for recent high natural gas prices and supply shortages in eastern Australia has falsely been blamed by Anthony Albanese and his Labor Government Ministers on the war in Ukraine.

Gas price increases began before the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the 2022 price spike was caused by local factors. The Federal Government then used the excuse that the gas shortage and higher prices were caused by the war in Ukraine to justify implementation of new legislation that enforced a gas price cap and domestic gas reservation. This presents as a socialist intervention.

Misinformation is prevalent in politics, the media and Government discussions about gas prices. Evidence-based facts are overlooked in favour of emotional narratives.
The increase in east coast gas prices can be attributed almost solely to a domestic gas supply shortage. That gas supply shortage has been caused by State Government energy policies.
The ACCC’s gas report reveals that domestic gas contract prices increased from late 2020 to mid-2021 and the supply outlook from 2022 onwards appears tight.
The 2022 Australian Energy Regulator “Gas Markets” report highlights a period of sustained high gas prices and tight supply in east coast gas markets. Factors such as depleting southern gas reserves, overlapping electricity market dynamics and short-term spot exposure during the higher demand winter period contributed to the increase in gas demand and subsequently gas prices.

The blame for the gas supply shortage can be attributed to past and present State Governments in NSW, Victoria, SA, and Queensland who have limited access to new petroleum exploration areas through regulations, lack of expedited approvals and withholding vast areas prospective for gas exploration.
The absence of a coordinated national energy policy, combined with subsidies for renewable energy projects has resulted in a shortage of reliable, low-cost base load electricity which in turn has increased electricity prices and gas supply shortages.

The false narrative surrounding human-caused climate change has directly led to policies condemning fossil fuels and limiting onshore petroleum exploration. The finance sector’s withdrawal of funding for fossil fuel projects, the abandonment of support by business groups and the lack of defence by petroleum exploration and production companies has also contributed to the situation.

Contrary to the narrative, the Australian export LNG projects were not robbing gas from domestic supply. These projects were developed for the existing, lucrative LNG export market in Asia, where prices were higher and long-term contracts were more feasible. The small domestic east coast gas markets were adequately supplied by other domestic sources and the large gas reserves associated with LNG projects could not have been sold in Australia due to the small market size.
There is an urgent need for a coherent national energy policy incorporating a balanced approach to renewable energy and an orderly transition to ensure a reliable energy supply and mitigate the impact of rising gas and electricity prices.
Legislative power for petroleum exploration and production in onshore areas, including State-controlled waters, is governed by each State and Territory under the Australian Constitution.

There has been significant depletion of existing onshore gas fields through production in South Australia, Victoria, and Queensland and also in the offshore gas fields Victorian, South Australia and Tasmania. These gas fields are in many cases approaching the final stages of their production life and with the declining production rates comes increased production costs which is passed on to the consumer in the form of higher gas prices.

The lengthy and costly State Government regulatory processes, community consultations and bureaucratic obstacles faced by petroleum exploration companies have all hindered the addition of a new gas supply. These processes often lead to delays and unnecessary costs which are ultimately either borne by exploration company shareholders or in the case of successful projects are funded by consumers through higher commodity prices.

New South Wales (NSW) petroleum exploration was effectively halted in 2011 initially in response to the Government responding to activists claims of the damage caused by the use of fracking. The NSW Government then conducted a review of petroleum exploration resulting in the cancellation of all existing petroleum exploration licenses except for those related to the Santos-controlled coal seam gas project in the Narrabri region.

The NSW Government referred to the cancelled licences as “zombie licences” claiming that they had all passed their expiry date or had not met their financial commitments. In fact, the NSW Government had applied a compulsory moratorium on exploration in 2011 which prevented the titleholders from meeting their financial commitments by conducting exploration activities.

Application for development approval of the Narrabri Gas Project was first submitted in 2014 with conditional approval not granted until September, 2020 – a 6 year process!!! In the meantime NSW has no domestic gas supply and is totally dependent on gas imports from South Australia, Queensland and Victoria, a rapidly dwindling gas resource.

Petroleum exploration and development policies in Victoria, South Australia, and Queensland has effectively halted onshore gas exploration and the addition of a new gas supply. Moratoriums and bans on onshore gas exploration and development in Victoria as well as the competitive tendering processes for new exploration areas in South Australia and Queensland have either stopped or greatly reduced gas exploration in those states. The Queensland government has prioritised the release of new areas for coal seam gas and unconventional gas leading to limited opportunities for conventional gas exploration.

The demonization of fossil fuels by state governments along with the withdrawal of prospective exploration areas has resulted in a gas supply shortage and increased gas prices on the east coast. Additionally, the replacement of fossil fuels with heavily subsidized renewable energy sources without a proper transition plan is seen as a contributing factor to the gas supply shortage, high gas prices, and electricity grid imbalances.

There are major concerns with the long-term impact on the average citizen, businesses and productivity due to government policies and subsidies that favour renewable energy over fossil fuels.


Tuesday, 8 August, 2023
12:00 pm - 2:30 pm
(Australia/Sydney time)
$10.00 – $75.00
Event Categories:
  • Venue

    Castlereagh Boutique Hotel
    169 Castlereagh St
    Sydney, NSW 2000 Australia
    + Google Map
    +61 2 9284 1000

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