WA shale price questioned by industry
Western Australia has placed its domestic energy policy ahead of industry information, with the State’s Premier meeting top energy executives at a forum over the weekend.
"I think one of the great weaknesses of Australia is that energy is clearly critical for the nations in this century, we have great energy resources, and yet we really don't have an energy policy," WA Premier Colin Barnett said. Mr Barnett says it is important to ensure some of his state’s gas stays in the domestic market, but key industry players say the policy could be driving prices up.
BHP Billiton iron ore chief Jimmy Wilson said that while the company was "completely neutral" on the domestic gas issue, given BHP is both a major gas producer and energy consumer, Western Australia's shale gas potential could be better realised if the market was left alone.
"I actually believe that we should allow market forces to determine these things," Mr Wilson said. "If we could chase up the shale gas a little bit more aggressively and actually put that as an option, which clearly is obviously domestic, that is a great thing and I think there's an opportunity that has been missed there."
Nev Power from the Fortescue Metals Group said his company was behind any policy that drove competition in Australia’s energy industry, but that it would be ridiculous for companies to be importing diesel at a lower price than gas that can be accessed domestically, which is currently the case in some operations.