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Australia Pacific LNG, Gladstone LNG, and the Queensland Curtis LNG Project have been re-authorised by the ACCC to coordinate maintenance schedules, reducing the probability of major disturbances to gas markets.

In addition to their maintenance schedules, the gas plants will be able to coordinate their providers and techniques for another five years.

“The reauthorisation means that all three gas plants can coordinate when their facilities will be taken offline for maintenance,” ACCC Chair, Rod Sims, said. 

“This will reduce the likelihood of major disruptions to domestic gas markets, which could occur if multiple maintenance events cause more than one facility to be taken offline at the same time.”

The LNG producers’ facilities convert natural gas into LNG for export. Each LNG facility is connected to gas wells in the Surat and Bowen basins of Queensland. However, they also purchase gas from nearby wholesale markets.

When any of the applicants’ LNG facilities are offline, they may redirect their gas to wholesale markets for sale. The LNG plants use very large quantities of gas and their facilities going offline can have a significant effect on the market price.

The ACCC first authorised maintenance schedule coordination in 2016, with a condition requiring that applicants publicly disclose the information they share between themselves, to ensure that other market participants do not have an information disadvantage.

The ACCC considered whether transparency measures expected to be implemented under the National Gas Law in 2022 would remove the need for a similar condition in this authorisation, but has decided a condition is still appropriate.

“We consider that all information shared among these producers should be disclosed to the rest of the market, whereas the National Gas Law has a different focus and may not apply to information about maintenance planned more than 12 months in advance,” Mr Sims said.

The ACCC’s final determination is available on the public register at Australia Pacific LNG Pty Limited & Ors.

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