Government strikes deal with exporters to fill Australia’s gas shortfall | Australia news

Major gas companies have agreed to fill the domestic shortfall in Australia’s gas market next year, saving the government from having to enact its export control trigger.

In a move being hailed as a win by the government, Santos, Origin Energy and Shell have agreed to quarantine additional supply from the gas market following a meeting between the companies and the prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, his deputy, Barnaby Joyce, and the energy minister, Josh Frydenberg.

But the government did not confirm how many additional petajoules were being set aside, with Turnbull only saying another meeting had been scheduled for next Tuesday.

“They have given us a guarantee that they will offer to the domestic market the gas that was identified as the expected demand shortfall by Aemo in 2018,” he said. “They stated that they will provide a similar guarantee over two years, that’s their intention, and will respond further in more detail on 2019 when we meet again next week.

“They’ve stated that they will offer first, as a first priority, domestic customers any un-contracted gas in the future as a priority.

“They have also given commitment to provide regular reporting to the ACCC on sales, offers by them to sell gas, and bids to buy gas, from customers they have declined.”

The agreement means the government does not have to pull the trigger, which it began laying the groundwork for earlier this year but became complicated by the citizenship saga that engulfed parliament.

Joyce became the minister responsible for pulling the trigger following the resignation of Matt Canavan from the cabinet. But given Joyce’s eligibility to sit in parliament also came under question, concerns were raised over the validity of him making the decision.

The government said it was waiting for reports it had ordered into the gas situation to return, which occurred on Monday.

Both the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the Australian Energy Market Operator…

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