The Australian government said it was "encouraged" on steps taken to avert a gas crisis after meeting on April 19 with producers and the energy market operator, but it held out the threat of regulatory steps to address any supply shortages.
Australia's energy market operator and east coast liquefied natural (LNG) gas exporters updated Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on measures taken since a March meeting to discuss a domestic gas crunch expected to emerge from 2019.
Since then, companies like France's Engie SA and Origin Energy, have sealed deals to ensure gas supply to power plants at peak times, easing some short-term concerns about shortages that have already helped to trigger blackouts.
"While this progress is encouraging, a lot more needs to be done," Prime Minister Turnbull said in a statement following talks.
"The government remains concerned that the east coast export LNG operators have not yet clearly articulated how Australian households and businesses will get adequate supply at reasonable prices," he said.
The Australian Energy Market Operator warned in March of a shortage set to hit eastern Australia just as the country becomes the world's top LNG exporter. At least one of the east coast LNG plants, the Santos-operated Gladstone LNG (GLNG) is drawing gas out of the domestic market to help meet its export contracts.
"No business that was facing gas price disaster this morning will have been reassured by the outcome of this afternoon's meeting," Australia Industry Group (AIG) Chief Executive Innes Willox said in a statement, indicating ongoing worries from consumers of domestic natural gas.
Gas producers declined to comment after the meeting.
Both the the Colorado Oil and Gas Association and the the bill's sponsor said the moratorium was an unnecessary move.
Even as oil and gas production increase out of the Rockies region, the industry faces a number of pressing issues that could significantly halt this growth.
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