Australian minister assures Japan on gas and coal supplies ahead of visit

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Australian Resources Minister Madeleine King said Japan’s gas and coal supplies would not be disrupted by government measures aimed at curbing rising domestic energy prices, while such measures would limit energy exports from the resource-rich country.

Speaking in a recent interview with Kyodo News ahead of his trip to Japan from Sunday to Thursday, King said any intervention in the liquefied natural gas market being considered by the government would not affect exports and long-term contracts.

Australian Resources Minister Madeleine King. (Photo courtesy of Ministry of Industry, Science and Resources) (Kyodo)

“We are committed and will ensure that these solutions do not affect Japan’s gas or coal supply,” King said, adding that Australia is “committed to ensuring that these exports will always remain on the right way”.

Australia was the world’s biggest gas exporter in 2021, with Japan depending on Australia for around 40% of its LNG, its biggest supplier.

King will meet with a number of government and business officials while in Japan, including Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Yasutoshi Nishimura. She will also travel to Kobe to see the world’s first liquefied hydrogen carrier, the Suiso Frontier.

The assurances come amid a domestic gas price crisis in Australia, as the country’s aging coal-fired power stations begin to go offline and global LNG spot prices have soared due to the effects of war. underway in Ukraine.

Lawmakers have called for gas market intervention to limit domestic gas price hikes, such as price caps or windfall taxes, as producers post record profits amid global demand booming.

The government has not yet confirmed what measures are being considered.

Australians have also been warned of a forecast gas shortage on the country’s east coast next year, despite being one of the world’s largest natural gas producers.

However, experts dismissed claims of a gas supply problem, instead pointing to the high volume of Australia’s exports compared to domestic consumption.

The Australia Institute, a public policy think tank, said in June that research had shown that “there is no gas supply problem in eastern Australia, the amount of gas consumed by Australian households and industry being dwarfed by the amount of gas produced for export”. noting that some 80 per cent of Australian gas is exported.

While King ruled out imposing gas export restrictions in 2023 after reaching an agreement with local gas producers, she said it remained an important option for Canberra to ensure energy security in the event of a future shortage.

The photo shows liquefied natural gas tanks at Inpex Corp’s onshore processing facility. in Darwin, Australia on July 24, 2018. (Kyodo) == Kyodo

Despite the ongoing energy crisis, King also ruled out the possibility of introducing nuclear power into Australia’s energy system, saying it was “not on the cards” under the current Albanian administration.

“We do not support the introduction of nuclear energy…because we have reliable sources of energy that can power this country for many years to come,” King said, adding that Australia will look towards its “other great natural assets”. in renewables such as offshore wind and solar as the country moves away from fossil fuels.

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