Securing Gas For Future Winter Warmth

Work underway across the state is helping ensure Victorians have access to safe, clean and affordable gas.

Expansion works commenced this week at Lochard Energy’s Iona Gas Plant in Port Campbell, which has been a key gas storage operation for almost 20 years.

The works will help secure more reliable natural gas supplies and mitigate short-term price peaks, such as in winter.

Underground gas storage involves injecting natural gas into porous sandstone reservoirs from where it can be retrieved when demand peaks, helping Victorians save on their energy bills.

On Victoria’s coldest days, demand for gas outstrips the amount being processed, so storage reservoirs are also integral to consistent supply.

The expansion is authorised under Lochard Energy’s existing licence and is not subject to the conventional onshore gas moratorium – in place to 2020 – as it does not relate to the extraction of new gas.

The processes used at the Iona Plant do not relate to fracking or unconventional processes, which were banned in Victoria by the Andrews Labor Government.

Meanwhile, the Victorian Gas Program (VGP) is undertaking scientific investigations on the potential for more underground gas storage between Warrnambool and Port Campbell to help alleviate future demand peaks.

The VGP will encourage new commercial offshore gas exploration through the release of blocks in state waters between Port Campbell and the South Australian border.

Last month, Cooper Energy drilled the first new well offshore from Victoria since 2012. From 2019, Gippsland’s Sole gas field will deliver enough additional annual supply to power a city the size of Geelong for an entire year.

Minister for Resources Tim Pallas today met with the Stakeholder Advisory Panel for Onshore Conventional Gas to talk to those who are helping advise on the risks, benefits and impacts of onshore conventional gas exploration.

In addition to Victoria’s Lead Scientist, Dr Amanda Caples, the panel comprises eight representatives from farming, industry, environment, local government and the community.

The current focus of the onshore component of the program is completing geoscientific studies across the Otway geological basin in south-west Victoria, the area with the most potential for conventional natural gas.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Resources Tim Pallas

“Expanding underground storage and off-shore extraction will boost the reliability of gas supply in Victoria, and reduce short-term price peaks, particularly during winter.”

“The Victorian Gas Program is delivering a better picture of Victoria’s potential gas resources, to potentially expand supply in the future.”

“We’ve banned fracking and are focusing on safe, tried and tested methods to improve access to natural gas and lower the state’s energy costs.”