By KIERAN FINNANE
The day before Chief Minister Adam Giles’ announcement that the gas pipeline would be built from Tennant Creek to Mt Isa, with the contract going to Jemena, jointly owned by State Grid Corporation of China and Singapore Power, South Australia was calling for a national approach top the project.
SA Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis in a media release on 16 November warned that the northern route preferred by Mr Giles would be more costly, even though shorter, and would lead to higher gas prices on the eastern seaboard.
Following the announcement the next day he called on newly-appointed Federal Resources, Energy and Northern Australia Minister Josh Frydenberg to intervene in the selection process.
“A nation-building project needs a national approach to ensure success,” Mr Koutsantonis said.
“I am disappointed for the people of the east coast who will be paying higher gas prices as a result of this decision.
“The economic benefits of a southern route far outweighed the Queensland option, which requires costly, additional processing facilities to be constructed before Northern Territory gas can access markets.”
The South Australian Government had supported the more efficient southern routes proposed by both DDG Operations Pty Ltd (DUET) and Pipeline Consortia Partners Australia Pty Ltd.
Those two bids proposed to connect the onshore gas fields in the Northern Territory to the eastern market through existing infrastructure at Moomba in South Australia’s Cooper Basin.
Mr Koutsantonis said Mr Frydenberg should intervene in the national interest to protect consumers in the eastern gas markets from higher energy prices.
“He should list the issue for discussion at next month’s COAG Energy Council in Canberra,” he said.
“The findings of the ongoing Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) inquiry into south east gas prices should also be taken into consideration.”
Asked by the Alice Springs News Online today whether they were maintaining their call for Federal intervention, a spokeswoman for the SA Government said: “We’ve publicly stated that the issue should be discussed at next month’s COAG energy council. The Federal Government can intervene. They have so far indicated they won’t, which is disappointing.”