Western Australia Passes Legislation to Secure Gas Supplies

Energy consumers will benefit from greater competition and greater certainty over gas supply as a result of legislation passed today in Western Australia's State Parliament.

Energy Minister Peter Collier said the legislation would allow the development of a greater range of gas fields to supply the domestic market.

"This will benefit customers by leading to greater competition among gas producers and improving energy security through a more diverse range of gas sources," Collier said.

The Gas Supply (Gas Quality Specifications) Bill 2009 allows the State Government to broaden the gas characteristics in the State transmission pipeline network for the domestic market.

"Broadening the make-up of gas for the domestic market will encourage developments of gas fields, such as BHP Billiton's Macedon, which currently sits outside specifications for delivery through Western Australia's gas pipeline network," he said.

The Minister said the new legislation may render unsafe some pre-1980s gas appliances -- such as gas cookers, heaters and hot water systems -- if operated on leaner gas.

"To offset any inconvenience to consumers, a special program will be introduced before the leaner gas starts flowing to either service these appliances or replace them at no charge," he said.

"The gas rectification program will be funded by the producers who intend to supply gas with a leaner energy content, ensuring safety to residential consumers, schools and other institutions."

The legislation is just one of several measures the State Government is taking to avert future shortages and ensuring WA is better prepared for any future gas supply disruptions.

Collier recently released the Gas Supply and Emergency Management Committee's report, which provided recommendations to improve the security, reliability and competitiveness of the domestic energy markets, and potential mitigation options for gas supply disruptions.