On 12 August 2022, Energy Ministers agreed to take a range of actions aimed at supporting a more secure, resilient and flexible east coast gas market.
These actions include quick progression of measures to ensure the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) can manage gas supply adequacy and reliability risks across east coast gas markets in the lead up to and during winter 2023.
- AEMO’s functions and powers will be extended to identify, signal and manage supply shortfalls in the east coast market in winter 2023.
- AEMO will prepare an annual Winter Readiness and Management Plan, and incorporate gas system adequacy risks into their Summer Readiness Plan.
Consultation on the regulatory amendments to extend AEMO’s functions and powers, known as the east coast gas system framework (the new framework), occurred between 26 September 2022 and 21 October 2022.
Energy Ministers agreed in October 2022 to the amendments to the National Gas Law required to give effect to the new framework, with subsequent agreement to Regulations and Rules required to implement the new framework in February 2023.
Energy Senior Officials will continue work on longer-term reforms including to:
- design and consult on more formal tools which could sit under the supply adequacy and reliability framework to improve AEMO and market participants’ ability to identify and respond to emerging supply shortfall risks, and better manage periods of volatility
- develop and submit rule changes to improve the flexibility and liquidity of the east coast gas market to respond to demand and supply shocks
- further investigate options to extend a third party access framework for upstream gas infrastructure and storage facilities to enable more supply to market from smaller producers and improve utilisation of existing infrastructure.
Further information on the package of reforms can be found in the Summary of Measures document (PDF 693 KB).
Gas Working Group
Progress of the reforms will be overseen by the Gas Working Group, which contains representatives from all Australian state and territory governments.
The Gas Working Group continues the work of the former Gas Major Projects Implementation Team (GMPIT). Prior to that, the Gas Market Reform Group (GMRG) was responsible for implementing the 2016 Gas Market Reform Package (see below).
The role of the Gas Working Group is to oversee the delivery of gas market reform priorities set by the Energy Ministers Meeting (EMM), as well as other relevant priorities specifically tasked by the Energy National Cabinet Reform Committee (ENCRC).
The Gas Working Group is also responsible for supporting Energy Ministers in their ongoing role to provide oversight of national gas policy and related regulatory frameworks as articulated in the Australian Energy Market Agreement (AEMA).
Previous Energy Ministers’ work programs
In June 2021 Energy Ministers agreed to a package of priority reforms to unlock new gas supply and improve the functioning of gas markets, including pipeline regulation, to ensure they are operating competitively and in the interests of consumers.
The package was endorsed by National Cabinet in August 2021.
The priority reforms include the following work-streams:
- Accelerate development of the Wallumbilla Gas Supply Hub.
- Review the pipeline capacity trading framework.
- Expedite amendments to incorporate hydrogen blends and natural gas blends.
- Implement agreed pipeline regulation reforms.
- Implement agreed gas market transparency reforms.
Key historical documents
Previous National Gas Market Reforms
National Gas Law Amendment Package - January 2017
Gas Market Reform Package - August 2016
Gas Supply Strategy - December 2015
Australian Gas Market Vision - December 2014
Previous National Gas Market Reviews
Examination of the current test for the regulation of gas pipelines - December 2016
AEMC East Coast Wholesale Gas Market and Pipeline Frameworks Review - July 2016
ACCC Inquiry into the East Coast Gas Market - April 2016