THE GAS STORY: SO FAR NOT SO GOOD
Last week the Victorian government gave the go ahead to onshore conventional gas exploitation across the State. A moratorium had halted all exploration and drilling since 2014. In March 2020, the Andrews Government introduced new laws to lift the moratorium and allow extensive drilling for gas reserves underground from July 2021.
In 2018, the Victorian Labour Government released five new oil and gas exploration blocks in the offshore Otway Basin in State waters, extending from Port Campbell to the South Australian border. Climate science makes it abundantly clear that time is running out if we want to avoid catastrophic climate change. To reduce methane gas emissions, we must stop further fossil fuel expansion and transition to 100% renewable energy and energy storage. The State government needs to cancel the tender process for offshore oil and gas exploration and end onshore gas expansion in the Otway Basin in western Victoria. The time for new fossil fuel expansion is over. Keep reading to meet the CAST OF GAS VILLIANS and TAKE DIGITAL ACTION NOW!
Otway Gas Plant near Port Campbell, Victoria (source: Beach Energy website)
CAST OF GAS VILLIANS
Who might benefit from the moratorium being lifted?
Lakes Oil is the oldest oil company in Australia, formed in 1946 at Lakes Entrance, VIC, it explores across Victoria for “tight” gas, shale oil and gas. Lakes Oil, in a joint venture with Vintage Energy, is drilling for gas in the Otway Basin. Lakes plans to begin supply of gas to South Australia by the end of 2020. The SA State government gave Lakes a grant of nearly $5 million. Australia’s richest woman, Gina Rinehart, is Lakes’ second largest shareholder owning nearly 9 per cent according to Bloomberg. Lakes Oil was suspended on the ASX in October 2019 for failing to lodge its annual report on time.
Vintage Energy company is based in South Australia and formed against the backdrop of a gas supply crisis, listing on the ASX in September 2018. Vintage Energy is actively reviewing oil and gas opportunities in the Australian market, securing four separate natural gas exploration opportunities, to take advantage of a generally favourable energy pricing outlook as spot gas prices reached record levels. This unique combination of circumstances presented by the development of a massive Liquefied Natural Gas export industry in Queensland, declining offshore gas production, anti-industry activism and politics (particularly in NSW, Victoria and the Northern Territory) has helped to stimulate a gas supply shortage in Australia’s Eastern states.
Map: Vintage Energy
Beach Energy Limited, formerly Beach Petroleum Limited, was established in the early 1960s by the late Dr. Reg Sprigg, an Australian oilman, geologist, and explorer. Their first well was drilled at the site, now the Grange Golf Course, near Adelaide metropolitan beaches. Beach was listed on the ASX in 1961. Exploration in the Otway Basin of south-eastern Australia resulted in significant discoveries of commercial gas at Port Campbell in 1979. In 2016, Beach completed a merger with Drillsearch, expanding its Cooper Basin footprint. In 2018, Beach acquired Lattice Energy, resulting in substantial growth of Beach’s asset portfolio across Australia and into New Zealand. Natural gas from the Geographe and Thylacine offshore production wells is being piped and processed at the Otway Gas Plant near Port Campbell.
Cooper Energy is an ASX listed company and its gas portfolio includes the Otway Basin, sourcing from the Casino Henry gas project. Gas supply contract customers include AGL Energy, Alinta Energy, EnergyAustrali, O-I Australia and Origin Energy. Cooper Energy has adopted the definition of sustainability developed by the UN Brundtland Commission in 1987: "Sustainable Development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." Its overarching objective is to deliver sustainable growth in total shareholder return.
Photo: Heinz DeChelard