AGL’s “Community Update” Announcing Delays At Crib Point
Q: Can you please confirm whether the new FSRU, ‘Esperanza’ has closed loop capabilities that were NOT available on the previously contracted “HOEGH”?
Is this what is meant by AGL’s media release that claims: “the Esperanza better fits timing and operational requirements arising from the Environment Effects Statement (EES)”?
In the recent media release (attached) and newspaper articles reporting the welcome announcement that the Crib Point proposal has been delayed, AGL claimed they “are working closely with residents of the Mornington Peninsula, particularly (local environmental group) Save Westernport, who have vocally and vigorously worked to protect the environment and we have listened to them.” (See attachment)
If this were true, AGL would have withdrawn their plans to import and process LNG in Westernport Bay based on the widespread opposition to the proposal expressed at a public meeting held by Save Westernport and Environment Victoria in May 2019. Every candidate in the local electorate of Flinders in the recent federal election strongly opposed AGL’s controversial plans, and vowed to fight it if elected.
For AGL to be barreling ahead with their plans in the face of such overwhelming local opposition demonstrates that AGL IS NOT LISTENING to local concerns.
The claim is a cynical attempt on AGL’s part to demonstrate a rapore with the community that frankly does not exist.
The current EES process requires the proponent AGL to demonstrate that they have “social license” to operate within this community. Nothing could be more certain in this case than the absence of AGL’s social license. Every detail that has emerged has confirmed the inappropriateness of AGL’s proposed location within a protected wetland, and AGL has not been able to demonstrate that the project is necessary or will benefit anyone but AGL and their shareholders. There are numerous reasons why the project is so completely UNWELCOME, not least of which is the expectation, encouraged by AGL, that they are leaders in the inevitable uptake of renewables. The backwards step this project represents would do nothing for AGL’s reputation but confirm their hypocrisy.
The most recent delay caused by the rigorous requirements of the EES (Environmental Effects Statement) has forced AGL to renegotiate its prospective contract for the FSRU, (Floating Storage Regasification Unit).
AGL’s attempt to dress up this recent announcement as some kind of concession to local concerns is dishonest in the extreme. Unfortunately this what we have come to expect from the routine operations of this corporation, which has been fined for “deceptive and misleading conduct” in the past, and in this community has attempted to buy local support with divisive cash donations that AGL has confirmed making to local footy clubs etc.
As a member of Save Westernport who travelled to Melbourne last week in an unsuccessful attempt to meet with AGL CEO Brett Redman while he was in town for the 2019 Australian Energy Week to discuss our concerns and deliver a petition against the project that contains over 17,000 signatures, I resent the misleading statement that AGL is “working closely with Save Westernport”.
It is important to state that Save Westernport has no intention of working with AGL other than to repeat our vehement opposition to the Crib Point proposal. We will continue to oppose it at every opportunity until it is withdrawn.
AGL now has a rare opportunity to confirm its commitment to responsible community engagement and a sustainable energy future for its customers by withdrawing its plans at Crib Point.
Please publish this comment.
Re: AGL’s “Community Update” Announcing Delays At Crib Point
Re: AGL’s “Community Update” Announcing Delays At Crib Point
Thank you for your post and sincere apologies for the delay. The change in timing has kept us busy.
Yes, the Esperanza does already have closed loop capabilities inbuilt whereas the Giant was going to require modification in order to implement the closed loop system. However, we would have ensured either ship had the capacity to run closed loop and open loop regasification.
Apart from this, the Esperanza and the Giant have almost identical configurations. This includes the same length, the same width and the same depth. They are considered ‘sister ships’, built in the same shipyard.
Also, with a later delivery window, the Esperanza now suits our timing better because the project has been delayed to allow more time to prepare the Environment Effects Statement (EES).
We are sorry to hear you do not feel like we are listening. We have been consulting with key stakeholders including people living and working near the site, community groups and the Victorian and Australian governments since July 2017. There have been over 30 public community consultations, held in locations including Crib Point, Hastings, Balnarring, Blind Bight, Cowes, Cardinia, and Nar Nar Goon with both those who oppose the project and supporters from within the local communities and those seeking gas security.
We have been openly sharing environmental studies online and answering questions received from supporters and opponents.
AGL has an obligation to provide energy to our 1.4m gas customers. The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) Gas Statement of Opportunities has been showing for a number of years now that traditional supply sources are decline and new supply options are required to support Victoria’s ongoing energy needs. As an energy company, households rely on AGL to ensure a reliable and affordable supply of gas for cooking and to heat their homes and businesses and their employees rely on us as a provider of gas for energy and as an essential feedstock to industrial processes.
We will continue to provide opportunities to engage and involve any stakeholders in the assessment process – it will be an ongoing activity throughout the Environment Effects Statement process. There will also be an opportunity for you to submit a response about the EES to the government during the exhibition period.
We also understand the concern about our support of local organisations. At AGL we are committed to supporting the communities where we operate and do our best to listen to both supporters and opponents. We do not expect the community nor organisation’s we sponsor to support any of our projects in return. Where we have been approached by clubs seeking out our support, we have worked with these local sponsored clubs to make sure all members are aware that they aren’t expected to support AGL to try and prevent dividing the community.
Any decision to move forward with the project would require all the appropriate regulatory steps to be undertaken. This includes the EES which is an independent and transparent process. AGL has yet to make a final investment decision on the proposed project.
Re: AGL’s “Community Update” Announcing Delays At Crib Point
Australians have become far more aware of the dire state of the Australian energy market since AGL first announced the Crib Point proposal in 2017. It has become a constant feature in daily news, and last week Premier Andrews repeated his opinion in The AGE that there IS NO GAS SHORTAGE in Victoria.
Clearly, this is unfortunate for AGL, who have relied on disinformation about imminent gas shortfalls to justify the ridiculous plan to import and process gas in the protected wetlands of Westernport Bay. Predictably, the same disinformation, that “Australia is facing a gas shortage” was repeated in the response to my comment above.
With so much at stake, it is incredibly frustrating to be given this story again. It seems to be a deliberate distortion of current circumstances in Australia, where we have just surpassed Qatar to become the WORLD’S LARGEST PRODUCER OF LNG.
Australia does not have a gas shortage.....AGL has a gas shortage.
PLEASE ANSWER THIS QUESTION: How can we be facing a gas shortage when AGL managed to post record-breaking profits last year of over $1.6 BILLION DOLLARS ?? That money had to come from somewhere, and that place was the pockets of those Australian families who “depend on” companies like AGL (to squeeze them for their gas supply.)
It’s clear that far too much of Australia’s supply has been sold off overseas, and AGL’s desperate plans to get its sweaty grip on new supplies by IMPORTING LNG at Crib Point are evidence of this mismanagement.
AGL’s repeated use of this pathetic image of Australian families unable to warm either themselves or their supper is a shameless and blatent attempt to manipulate the facts. It is the reason that energy companies like AGL are now routinely referred to by industry analysts as CARTELS. Australian families (and industries) that “depend on you” are being hit with ever-increasing prices. The inevitable result is that Australians now pay among the world’s HIGHEST GAS PRICES for gas.
You claim in your response that you have “a responsibility to provide your customers with gas”, but it’s clear from AGL’s behavior that the company considers its only responsibility to be providing AGL shareholders with profits, whatever it takes. It’s probably in your interest to be more upfront when it comes to discussing that inescapable truth. The resulting mismanagement of this country’s energy resources is demonstrated by this cynical attempt by AGL to exploit this situation and profit from the IMPORT of gas.
Your response is another example of AGL’s continuing attempt to downplay and dismiss our deeply held concerns, by asking us not to have a care for the irreversible damage that this project would cause. In addition to the numerous threatened and endangered species in Westernport bay, the 56km route of their proposed gas pipeline would also cut through threatened habitat and protected Ramsar wetands.
The continuing investment in fossil fuels is entirely inappropriate in this location within the Mornington Peninsula Shire, whose Council recently voted in favour of measures to respond to the Climate Emergency we now face. These measures are URGENT and cannot be delayed, yet AGL is hoping to unfreeze gas that, after being shipped around the world, would be even more carbon intensive.
There are many reasons this wasteful plan is ill-advised and environmentally unsound, and why it represents a complete contradiction to the clean, green image that AGL likes to project. AGL management has chosen to focus on supplying ever more gas, rather than responsibly encouraging consumers to conserve their use, or to seek readily available electrical alternatives. Yet they know that clean, green energy is what people want and expect, and so they continue to project LNG, the out-dated fossil fuel, to be some kind of meaningful “alternative” or “transition fuel”. AGL stands to profit enormously from the Crib Point project, and its approval depends on acceptance of the myth that Australia is facing an inevitable shortfall in supply; a myth that a growing number of industry analysts have repeatedly debunked.
AGL has COMPLETELY FAILED— and has barely attempted— to demonstrate that this facility is even necessary, yet they are cruelly and selfishly attempting to barrel ahead with their plans. When AGL executive Phaedra Deckert suggested that those affected should (just shut up and) “TAKE ONE FOR THE TEAM”, it was an important acknowledgement of just how devastating the AGL facility would be to Westernport’s precious ecosystems. It also demonstrated a thorough awareness at AGL’s highest levels surrounding the degrading social impact it would have on affected communities on the Mornington Peninsula and beyond. This disastrous impact, like the proposed facility itself, would last for decades to come.
AGL does not have the social license necessary to proceed with plans to import LNG at Crib Point
Re: AGL’s “Community Update” Announcing Delays At Crib Point
Continuing to highlight that Australia is the largest export of LNG in the world, while not also making it clear that these exports are from northern Australia which is not adequately linked with the south eastern states is misleading. This is known as exclusionary detailing and is a type of misrepresentation by either omitting certain facts or by failing to correct a key misconception.
The full picture of Australia’s gas market is that the reason we are now one of the largest exporters of gas is because of the gas being exported from gas reserves in the north west and north east of the country. While the isolated south eastern states face gas shortages.
The figure below highlights in yellow the location of demand centres in the most densely populated, and colder, south-eastern states in Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia compared with the location of the most abundant gas reserves serving LNG export facilities in the north west and north east of the country.
Due to the vast distance across the continent, Australia’s largest population centres in the east are not connected to the gas reserves and LNG production plants in the northwest. The east coast market has only connected from Queensland in the northeast, down to Melbourne and Tasmania at the south-eastern tip of the country. Most recently, with the addition of the Northern Gas Pipeline, the east coast gas network is now connected to gas reserves in the Northern Territory.
The only pipeline that connects Queensland to the southern states is the South West Queensland Pipeline which has maximum capacity of 384TJ/day, flowing from Queensland to southern states and it is already close to being fully utilised during Australia’s winter months. Therefore, gas from the Queensland coal seam gas resources is limited by pipeline constraints and wouldn’t be able to meet winter demand even if the currently exported gas was made available.
It is not only AGL’s view that gas markets in Australia’s south-east face declining production from local gas sources in the Gippsland and Otway Basins in Bass Strait. It is the view of Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO).
The latest AEMO 2019 Gas Statement of Opportunities (GSOO), released on 28 March 2019, said the east coast gas market faces tight supply from 2021 and shortfalls from winter 2024 if more is not done to replace rapidly declining output from Bass Strait and supplies from Queensland limited by pipeline capacity.
‘‘Southern Australia’s overall supply demand balance for 2021-2023 remains very finely balanced, reflecting the ever-tightening integration of Australia’s electricity and gas markets in the context of an evolving and dynamic energy system,’’ AEMO’s chief system design and engineering officer Alex Wonhas told the ‘Australian Financial Review’ when the report was published.
The report said:
“Supply from existing and committed gas developments is forecast to provide adequate supply to meet gas demands until 2023. However, risks remain that any weather-driven variances in consumption or electricity market activity that could increase gas demand, creating potential peak-day shortages as outlined in AEMO’s 2019 Victorian Gas Planning Report.” (AEMO GSOO 2019, p.3)
“As production from southern fields further declines, and pipeline capacity from Queensland becomes fully constrained, AEMO forecasts supply gaps from 2024, requiring new infrastructure development, new commitments to develop reserves and contingent resources, or the discovery and development of prospective resources in the south to meet forecast demand” (AEMO GSOO 2019, pp.6-7)
“From 2024, major southbound pipeline infrastructure upgrades would be required to deliver more gas from northern to southern states (predominantly over the winter months when southern demand is highest). AEMO forecasts potential for supply gaps from 2024 onwards, unless additional southern reserves and resources, or alternative infrastructure, are developed.” (AEMO GSOO 2019, p.3)
The report also said within the next five years, domestic gas demand, particularly in the southern states, will be difficult to meet in its entirety without either:
- Exploration and development of new southern resources, or
- New gas supplies delivered via LNG import terminal, or
- Major pipeline infrastructure expansions to deliver Queensland and Northern Territory gas southwards, or
- A combination of all three.
It also supported a Victorian-based LNG import terminal and said:
“Without any upgrade to the existing pipeline infrastructure: An import terminal in Victoria, either Melbourne or Gippsland, has the biggest projected impact to reduce projected shortfalls. In addition to providing an additional unconstrained source of gas for Victoria, this terminal is projected to reduce pipeline and storage infrastructure congestion, enabling greater access to supply from northern fields.”(AEMO GSOO 2019, p.55)
We are very aware that Western Port is an environmentally sensitive area and many areas within it are covered by the Ramsar international convention on the protection of wetlands. We are also very aware of the local concerns about the potential marine impacts of the project.
Gas Cartels Exaggerating Reports of Shortages to Alarm the Community and Drive Up Prices
The quotes below were made by Australian Gas analyst Bruce Robertson.
Hyperlinks to the full articles are included.
Unlike the response above, on behalf of a vested interest who seems to have threatened vulnerable people with energy shortages to justify their gas import plan when this country produces more gas than any other, Mr Robertson the author of these quotes has “no dog in this fight”.
“There’s plenty of gas around, even on the east coast...Companies are sitting on permits, not developing them and restricting supply so they can make a lot of money. It’s created the bizarre situation that sees Australian gas being sold in Japan for a wholesale price that is cheaper than the price it’s available for in Australia...[This country] has more than enough gas to meet its export and domestic needs. We just lack the political will to develop it....Australia is unique in its sheer stupidity in allowing companies to exploit our resources and not insist they provide for our domestic market...We are uniquely stupid.”.
“There is no gas “market” on the east coast of Australia; rather a tightly controlled cartel...This cabal, which we have no hesitation in calling the East Coast Gas Cartel, saw the opportunity to starve the domestic market of gas and force up prices. They deployed in-house economists to propagate the myth of gas shortages....So high are the prices we pay, that these corporate gas giants can absorb the costs of liquefying the gas – turning it into LNG that is – shipping the gas and then re-gasification; that is, turning it back into gas again. Each of these processes is expensive in itself. Cumulatively they add up to around A$6.70/GJ (per gigajoule)”
The east coast of Australia is controlled by a handful of private gas companies which behave as a cartel, setting the price and the supply of gas to the detriment of Australian consumers.”....”Enough is enough.”
“Importing gas is possibly the most wasteful thing you could do in terms of energy – it’s just pure wasted energy on a massive scale,”
Perhaps I am niave for presuming that the ABC also has nothing to lose by telling it like it really is. Assessing what motivates people’s intent is usually a fairly reliable way of evaluating the reliability of their information