15 May 2012 – Are recent news reports of impending gas shortages in NSW genuine or a way to soften up opposition to coal seam gas development, asks Matt Mushalik, a specialist observer of energy trends.

Australia, wanting to project itself as the energy super power faces domestic gas shortages in its premier state, NSW.

This is what the public is made aware of in articles in The Sydney Morning Herald titled “Gas supply to dwindle in the next 2 years” and “AGL warns of shortage as Gladstone sucks up supply”.

Is this just a strategy to soften up the opposition to coal seam gas development or is there really something more serious behind this news? We read:

“In its submission to the federal government’s draft white paper on energy, the state government has warned gas could begin to run short in NSW from as soon as 2014, as long-term supply contracts from the Cooper Basin in central Australia begin to expire”.

That’s how the expiry looks like, from a Sinclair Knight Mertz gas market modelling report for the Queensland Government.

This document on gas market modelling refers to a paper prepared by ACIL Tasman for Santos in March 2012, titled “Coal Seam Gas in NSW: implications for energy security and economic sustainability – a high level assessment.” Here we find a graph with all LNG projects in Queensland, neatly phased and stacked: