National COVID-19 Coordination Commission — stacked with gas industry
Coronavirus economic recovery committee looks set to push Australia towards gas-fired future
There's a battle of ideas over how to reinvigorate the economy after the shock of COVID-19, but the make-up of the advisory body the Federal Government has set up to lead the recovery gives a good indication of which way it's leaning.
Amid calls for new investment in clean energy to cut greenhouse gas emissions and revive the economy, the Government's given the task of leading the recovery to a committee that's overweight with business leaders from fossil fuel industries, and gas in particular.
The National COVID-19 Coordination Commission — a hand-picked panel of business leaders and trusted bureaucrats charged with facilitating the "fastest recovery possible" — is headed by Nev Power, the former CEO of iron ore miner Fortescue Metals.
One of Mr Power's early acts was to bring into the commission as a special adviser Andrew Liveris, former global chairman and CEO of The Dow Chemical Company. Mr Liveris is deputy chairman of Worley, the world's biggest engineering consultancy for the oil and gas industry, and also a director of the world's biggest oil and gas company, Saudi Aramco, which is looking at gas development in Australia.
The recovery commission's ties to oil and gas do not end there.
The National COVID-19 Coordination Commission also features Catherine Tanna, managing director of Energy Australia, whose biography boasts of her "long career in Australia and internationally in the resources and energy industry".
Ms Tanna led the $25 billion Queensland Curtis LNG project in Gladstone for BG Group — a giant and controversial gas export hub — and she has also held senior executive roles with Shell Gas & Power and BHP Petroleum.
Then there's former Labor minister and ACTU secretary Greg Combet ... consulted in the past to the gas giants Santos and AGL.
The CEO of the Australian Industry Group, Innes Willox, is also on the advisory body tasked with facilitating the recovery.
His lobby group, representing more than 60,000 mostly manufacturing and heavy-industry firms, has argued that economic recovery from the virus and cutting emissions to zero by 2050 are Australia's two greatest challenges and should be tackled together.
"Gas industry players and analysts poured cold water on the suggestion that a $6 billion west-east pipeline could ever be economical, with some arguing the idea of "cheap gas" to underpin a post-COVID-19 economic revival is unrealistic.
Multibillion-dollar subsidies would be needed to essentially make transport of gas free on a trans-Australian pipeline, and even then gas would still be $8 a gigajoule or more once it reached the east coast, some say."
... "MST Marquee energy analyst Mark Samter said that if subsidised local prices were wanted "then set up a national oil company," adding that private companies can't be expected to invest the billions of dollars required for new projects just to sell gas at cut-price rates. He reiterated his view that LNG imports from WA to the east coast are far more rational than a costly pipeline.
While a west-east pipeline may be the only proposal on the table that has a chance of de-linking east coast prices from LNG prices, that would be "still at price levels well above the aspirational $6-$7/GJ range," said Credit Suisse energy analyst Saul Kavonic.
In a letter to The Australian Financial Review on Wednesday, the head of the peak petroleum industry body APPEA, Andrew McConville, said that developing local gas supply remained the logical way forward for the east coast and that gas travelling across the continent would be sold at a premium to local gas."
That story is insightful as to who the successful players might be under the various scenarios being discussed now.
well $6 billion plus the costs of this board is a plenty big cost to recoup
maybe a less ambitious pipeline would be better APA seem to run a couple of pipelines at a profit
sounds like the consultation board are sure winners
one MIGHT also explore for gas closer to the East Coast than WA , that pipeline should be cheaper but sadly the advisory board will cost as much
in better days you could have struck a deal with China ( or say Japan ) build the pipeline and we will split the gas throughput 50/50
Government's COVID Commission manufacturing plan calls for huge public gas subsidies
State bans on coal seam gas development would be scrapped and the Federal Government would underwrite gas prices and massively subsidise costs and investment for gas companies, under confidential plans for a "gas-led manufacturing recovery" post-COVID-19.
* Leaked documents reveal a draft plan calling for massive gas subsidies and public investment
* The interim report also calls for reduced 'green and red tape' and an end to all fracking moratoriums in NSW and Victoria
* The National COVID Coordination Commission has several members with deep links to the gas industry
* The draft plans, obtained by the ABC, call for the scrapping of "green and red tape" on gas development, including a relaxation of Australian standards for equipment used in gas infrastructure and a loosening of environmental regulations and approval processes.
They are set out in an interim report from the manufacturing taskforce of the National COVID Coordination Commission (NCCC).
The NCCC is a hand-picked team of business leaders and former bureaucrats set up by the Prime Minister's Office to shape the economic recovery from the virus and lockdown, and includes several members with strong links to the gas sector.
Meet the Frackers ... they had a good day today too on the back of the Covid Commission's (very quickly produced interim) report being leaked showing our government will - probably - subsidise gas-fired power.
MEL (Metgasco) not so much, they're down 4% ... that west-east pipe is getting opposition, even from the gas industry.