Boom to Bust for Gladstone: Qld Greens

State and federal governments will contribute to a boom-bust scenario for Gladstone if they allow more gas plants there, say the Queensland Greens.

Greens spokesperson Libby Connors says the Queensland and federal environment ministers were considering applications for more LNG plants at the already damaged Gladstone Harbour. Coal seam gas is to be chilled there and exported as liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Ms Connors says business experts warn that the Australian coal seam gas industry is running into a perfect storm because of poor trading conditions, with overseas buyers turning to other markets. (see attached)

“There are many environmental reasons why the fourth and fifth LNG plant applications should be refused, not least of which is international concern about the extensive damage to the World Heritage area,” she said. “But now the poor market conditions are adding urgency and governments should step in to limit the damage to protect the people of Gladstone and the rest of Queensland.

She said costs blow-outs and lower than expected profit margins had meant QGC has reduced the size of its Gladstone export facility as its parent company is using US gas to fill international contracts. Santos has been forced to buy gas from rival company Origin to meet its export obligations. 

“The rush is coming to an end and it is up to state and federal governments to restore some sanity.  They must say no to any more export facilities in Gladstone Harbour.”   

Other intractable problems facing the industry include:

  • Landowners are refusing access across New South Wales and Queensland.
  • The community is demanding higher levels of regulation as awareness of the risks of fracking and aquifer contamination spreads.
  •  Global gas prices are falling as US shale gas and reserves in China come online. 
  •  Investors are increasingly concerned about the environmental risks associated with the projects.
  •  Shortages of gas for domestic consumption have caused an increase in domestic gas prices and pressure to quarantine some of Australia’s gas production for domestic use.
  •  International embarrassment over the harm caused to Gladstone Harbour for LNG export facilities. 

She said the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection should release details of the secret study they commissioned the University of Queensland to undertake that confirms contaminants including arsenic were found in marine life at Gladstone. 

“We already have a plethora of scientific studies that confirm the presence of heavy metal contamination, GPC monitoring also indicates changing acidity, probably from disturbing acid sulphate soils.” 

Contact: Libby Connors 0429 487 110

Links:

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/05/04/uk-arrow-cost-idUKBRE8430DF20120504

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/companies/triple-whammy-sparks-5bn-blowout-for-bgs-gladstone-project/story-fn91v9q3-1226346265187

http://www.afr.com/p/personal_finance/portfolio/why_australia_lng_frenzy_isn_helping_dKdGLSG6FK8i2n4MrIU1bP

State spokesperson

Queensland Greens Po Box 661, Albion BC, 4010