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Parliamentary inquiry finds fossil fuel giants fail to meet obligations

The interim report on the parliamentary inquiry into WA’s domestic gas policy has revealed that gas producers have been providing, on average, just eight per cent of their gas reserves to the WA domestic market; barely half of the required 15 per cent. The report comes amidst a gas industry push for a lift of export bans on WA onshore gas. 

The intention of WA’s domestic gas reservation policy is to provide energy security and shelter Western Australians from fluctuations in the gas market, stipulating that 15 per cent of offshore gas is to be reserved for domestic use. 

Figures released by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) indicate that gas companies have not been meeting these obligations for some time, with estimations of only ten per cent of WA gas reserves reaching the domestic market, while historical government figures also fall well short of the 15 per cent requirement.  

The report reveals yet another example of fossil fuel giants like Woodside pursuing profits by any means necessary; externalising costs and responsibilities to other sectors of the economy, just as they are planning to do when it comes to  emissions reductions.  

Liam Lilly, CCWA Fossil Fuels Program Coordinator, said “This intentional shortcoming by the WA gas industry is further evidence that we don’t need new fossil fuel projects.  
The WA public are routinely sold the story that we need more gas to ‘keep the lights’ on and this is simply not true.” 

Chair of the inquiry committee, Peter Tinley, stated that there was no evidence there would not be enough gas to keep the lights on in coming years.  

Lilly comments “The majority of the domestic gas from Woodside’s Scarborough project will be piped straight across the Burrup peninsula to produce urea at the Perdaman facility. This domestic gas does not benefit Western Australians to will not help keep any lights on for “homes, schools and businesses” as claimed by Woodside’s CEO. In addition to this, Woodside’s North West Shelf facility could become a net taker of gas from the domestic market once production from Waitsia commences. This scaremongering needs to stop - projects like Woodside’s Burrup Hub do not help WA energy security.” 

The refusal by the gas industry to adhere to domestic supply agreements demonstrates a clear need for government intervention, with the current policy enshrined in state agreements with individual projects, rather than in law.  

“Woodside is a company that actively contributes to climate collapse, destroys cultural heritage, and has had numerous issues with workforce safety. We cannot rely on a company like this to do the right thing and adhere to their obligations. original principles of the agreement. 

This report links to a broader issue of the lack of transparency around the WA gas export industry. This is an opportunity to make publication of production and export quantities, contract prices, royalties, and domestic contributions mandatory. Liam Lilly. 

Both the International Energy Agency and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have stated that we can’t afford any new fossil fuel projects if we are to have any chance of staying within 1.5°C of global warming. 

The report comes amidst a gas industry push for a lift of export bans on WA onshore gas. WA industry concerns over energy supply are a result of the gas industry not meeting domestic reservation requirements; they are not a result of WA’s ban on exporting from onshore sources.  

Arguments that upholding current export bans for onshore gas will be a barrier to economic benefits do not hold up to scrutiny. The economic benefits of the gas industry in Australia are severely and repeatedly overstated. The gas industry is a small employer that pays a scant amount of tax on its enormous profits - profits that it makes from exploiting a resource that belongs to the Australian people.” - Liam Lilly. 

Both the Canning Basin in the Kimberley and the Perth Basin contain shale gas troughs and sub-basins that would require fracking for gas to be extracted. In 2023, the export ban from onshore reserves in the Canning Basin was lifted - a crucial step in paving the way for the mass fracking of the Kimberley. Lifting the export ban from the Perth Basin would demonstrate the Government’s intent to frack in WA.   

“We know that new gas projects are actively displacing investment in renewables. WA needs to stop its obsession with gas and catch-up with the rest of Australia and the world in the energy transition by focussing on 100 per cent renewables, not new fossil fuel projects. This is the only right pathway to protecting WA energy security and supporting the health and wellbeing of Western Australians and the natural environment. WA can no longer afford to give free reign to gas companies to profiteer at the expense of Western Australians.” – Liam Lilly. 




MEDIA INFORMATION: The Conservation Council of WA (CCWA) is the state’s foremost nonprofit, non-government conservation organisation representing nearly 100 environmental organisations across Western Australia. For more information, visit:

CONTACT: For any enquiries relating to this release, please call 0412 272 570

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