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AGL steps up drive to develop Australia’s first LNG import facility

AGL steps up drive to develop Australia’s first LNG import facility

AGL Energy has defended its plan to develop Australia’s first LNG import facility in Victoria as a necessary move to boost gas supplies for the domestic market before a forecast supply crunch in 2021.

The power giant’s annual meeting yesterday attracted dozens of protesters outside the Melbourne venue and a barrage of questions from shareholders about the impact of its Crib Point gas import scheme on an environmentally sensitive area.

With gas imports to potentially start flowing into the state by early 2020 should the company’s board sanction the investment, AGL said it was critical to bring new resources into the market.

“The choices are more gas development in Australia or gas from somewhere else or diminishing consumption,” AGL chairman Graeme Hunt told investors. “So the thing to think about is that if this kind of project does not go ahead it would leave the market shorter.”

AGL Energy accelerated its Victorian LNG import plans this month as it braces for an expected 2021 domestic supply crunch, warning that the growing presence of wind and solar power could lead to more extreme shortages and price rises if there is bad weather.

AGL is one of four developers of LNG import terminals targeting east coast gas markets, where prices have risen and supply is tight. The crimped markets on the eastern seaboard are due to Queensland LNG exports, onshore development restrictions, falling Bass Strait production and the increasing cost of bringing new Australian gas supplies to market.

The emergence of the three other proposed projects show a market need for new supplies, Mr Hunt said.

“There are proposals for gas terminals in other parts of the country and rational analysis points to the fact that we are short of gas for domestic consumption at least in the medium term.”

The Australian

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