Projections from a new Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) report suggest a finely balanced domestic gas market until 2031.

Potential supply from existing and prospective projects is expected to meet forecast demand until at least the end of 2024.

The 2021 WA Gas Statement of Opportunities (GSOO) highlights a potential supply gap of 51PJ between 2025 and 2027, at rates of up to 85TJ a day, as depletion of reserves at existing facilities impact supply.

AEMO’s WA Markets Group Manager, Martin Maticka, said, “The peaks and dips observed in the 2021 WA GSOO indicate supply is expected to exceed demand until at least 2024, with the market tightening in the middle of the ten-year outlook period and then levelling out again from 2027.

“The 2021 WA GSOO covers options to fill the potential gap, including drawing from WA’s existing gas storage, which can deliver up to 210TJ per day, and developing domestic gas fields not currently in the forecasts, such as Corvus or Lockyer Deep.”

Domestic gas contributions from Woodside Energy’s Scarborough project in mid-2027 are expected to return the market to surplus until 2030, delivering up to 210TJ per day.

A positive outlook for major gas-consuming projects is forecast to lift demand at an average annual rate of 0.8 per cent, increasing from 1,071TJ per day in 2022 to 1,150TJ per day in 2031. 

Global demand for WA’s commodities is driving much of this growth, with 15 resource projects commencing operation during the outlook period.  

AEMO’s 2021 WA GSOO also highlights the interdependencies between the domestic gas and electricity markets, considering the impact additional renewable energy generation has on demand for gas-powered generation (GPG). 

“Australia’s energy sector is going through a rapid transition, driven by changes in consumer behaviour and efforts to decarbonise the system,” said Mr Maticka.

“The strong linkages between Australia’s gas and electricity sectors mean that changes occurring in one sector will have an impact on the other.”

As renewable generation increases its overall contribution, the 2021 WA GSOO expects GPG to grow at an average annual rate of 0.4 per cent across the outlook period in the South West Interconnected System (SWIS), a contrast to the 2020 WA GSOO outlook, which forecasts a decline.

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