Lifespan of Australia’s longest gas pipeline slashed as renewable energy turns heat up on fossil fuels


The business that owns Australia’s longest natural gas pipeline has slashed the property’s anticipated lifespan, stating renewable energy might make business unviable years ahead of schedule.

In a relocation that professionals state highlights the seismic modifications underway in fossil fuel markets consisting of natural gas, the owners of the Dampier-to-Bunbury gas pipeline wish to bring its efficient end-of-life forward from 2090 to 2063.

Australian Gas Infrastructure Group (AGIG) stated increased competition from renewable energy sources as well as the possibility of policies to minimize carbon output suggested the pipeline’s present financial life was “too long”.

It wishes to considerably reduce the devaluation schedule for the 1600-kilometre pipeline — Western Australia’s primary financial artery — to show the modifications.

The proposition is laid out in AGIG’s submission to WA’s financial guard dog, which manages just how much the business can charge clients to utilize a pipeline that ranges from Dampier in the state’s Pilbara to Bunbury in the South West.

Gas from the pipeline is utilized by some of the nation’s most significant commercial gamers consisting of aluminium leviathan Alcoa.

It is likewise utilized to produce about 40 percent of the electrical energy for WA’s most significant power grid.

Customers consisting of energy service provider Alinta and huge corporation Wesfarmers have actually flagged their opposition to the quote, stating it would include 10s of millions of dollars in additional expenses to users’ costs over the next 5 years.

Lifespan cut ‘internationally substantial’

Matthew Bowen states the choice is substantial and signifies a modification in company designs.(

Supplied

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Matthew Bowen, a partner at law office Jackson McDonald specialising in energy, stated the proposition was substantial in a worldwide context since it demonstrated how significantly the economics of fossil fuels were being improved.

Mr Bowen kept in mind the Dampier to Bunbury gas pipeline had actually been the foundation of WA’s financial advancement over the previous 40 years.

He stated while the pipeline appeared essential to the state’s economy at the minute, that was set to alter much quicker than AGIG had actually formerly approximated.

“It is significant for two reasons,” Mr Bowen stated.

“The first is if it results in higher prices on the pipeline if the Economic Regulation Authority agrees to this.

“That the world is moving to decarbonise and that their business model, which is based on transporting carbon-based fuels, faces a shelf life.

“Up previously, the method rates have actually been set for these managed possessions has actually been to anticipate the engineering life of the property and state this bit of pipeline is anticipated to last for possibly 80 years, so we’ll recuperate the expense of the property over those 80 years.

“There’s really been an assumption that demand will always be there, that people will always be consuming the natural gas these pipelines transport.”

‘Hard to envision’ a years earlier

A section of metal pipeline stretching into the distance lies in wooden blocks on the ground, with a crane in the background.
The Dampier to Bunbury gas pipeline is the longest in Australia.(

Supplied: DBP

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Energy Matrix specialist Michael Brooks, who has actually operated in the gas pipeline market, stated AGIG was likewise most likely to be inspired by the industrial advantage of a much shorter devaluation schedule since it would enhance earnings in the short-term.

However, Mr Brooks stated the Chinese-owned business was being required to act by essentially altering market conditions.

“Over the last 10 years, a lot has changed and we’re seeing prices for renewable energy decrease substantially, different technologies being discussed,” Mr Brooks stated.

Mr Brooks stated there was growing unpredictability about the function gas would play in not just electrical energy generation as renewable sources ended up being less expensive however likewise processing as cleaner choices such as green hydrogen ended up being more feasible.

Shortened life ‘still positive’

Peter Milne, a reporter and previous engineer in the oil and gas market, stated AGIG’s position was most likely to draw prevalent attention however other gas pipeline owners would need to do the same.

Milne likewise recommended the proposed brand-new lifespan for the Dampier to Bunbury pipeline was extremely positive, arguing need for gas would fall away faster than AGIG was forecasting.

“I can’t see it operating in 2063,” Milne stated.

“And especially now the United States has actually turned under the brand-new president [Joe Biden], the world has actually altered.”

Questions raised for political leaders

Image of a gas ring burner on a stove
Gas is presently Western Australia’s significant energy source.(

AAP

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For Mr Bowen, AGIG’s proposal has also raised significant issues about who should pay for regulated infrastructure such as gas pipelines when the business case for the assets diminishes.

“To take an example, Kodak, the movie business, when the world changed to digital photography its financial investment in the makers, they utilized to make movie stock needed to be diminished and crossed out,” he said.

“That’s usually what takes place when the marketplace for your services dries up.

“It is a little more complicated when one is dealing with monopoly infrastructure because up until the point that Kodak’s machines became valueless, Kodak had been able to set prices as it saw fit and as the market would allow it.

“The larger concern is whether the natural gas law, as composed by federal governments around Australia, presently offers the best response in this regard.

Greenough River Solar pr4oject
Investment in massive renewable energy is anticipated to remain strong for several years.(

Greenough River Solar Farm

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