Australia Backs Down From Limiting Gas Exports

By Robb M. Stewart and Rob Taylor Features Dow Jones Newswires

MELBOURNE, Australia--Australia's conservative government held back from imposing curbs on exports of liquefied natural gas after producers including Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSA.LN) agreed to put more gas into the domestic market to ease energy shortages on the east coast.

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The decision, which followed a meeting between Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and energy companies, came just days after an Australian regulator warned that gas shortages in 2018 could be three times worse than previously thought. Experts had warned that the curbs risked damaging the country's standing as a destination for investment, while having a limited impact on local gas supply and prices.

Mr. Turnbull said the energy companies had promised to fill a supply shortage estimated by the Australian Energy Market Operator at up to 107 petajoules in 2018 and 102 petajoules in 2019.

"They have given us a guarantee that they will offer to the domestic market," he said. "They have stated that they will provide a similar guarantee over two years."

Australia--the world's second-largest exporter of LNG--has grappled with blackouts in recent years when energy demand soared and generators weren't able to find enough gas to maintain electricity supply.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

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September 27, 2017 00:56 ET (04:56 GMT)