The Australian Energy Market Operator’s (AEMO) annual gas outlook for Western Australia (WA) indicates a finely balanced domestic market between 2023 and 2032, with forecast demand to marginally exceed potential supply between 2023 and 2026 in the ‘base’ case scenario.
Developed with gas producers, large users and storage plant owners, the 2022 WA Gas Statement of Opportunities (GSOO), provides information about the natural gas industry in WA.
AEMO’s Executive General Manager – WA and Strategy, Kate Ryan, said: "For the period from 2023 to 2026, the WA gas supply-demand balance is tight, with a small deficit of 45 petajoules (PJ) over the four years.”
“The forecast shortfalls are being driven by changes in production and increased demand, including for gas-powered generation and new resource projects.
“Between 2027 and 2029, supply is expected to exceed demand by 38 PJ, helped when Woodside’s Scarborough project is brought onstream. The domestic gas market then moves into a larger deficit from 2030 onwards in line with scheduled coal generation retirements and a decline in production from existing gas fields,” she said.
Possible market variability could see the domestic gas market shift further into either a surplus or deficit between 2023 and 2029, particularly if demand or supply projects are potentially delayed and as industry decarbonisation plans take shape.
“Several solutions are available to alleviate possible shortfalls, including drawing from WA’s existing gas storage, which can deliver up to 210 terajoules (TJ) per day, and developing gas fields not currently included in the forecasts, such as Corvus, Lockyer Deep and South Erregulla,” said Ms Ryan.
Demand for gas generation in the South West Integrated System (SWIS) is expected to grow from 127 TJ per day in 2023 to 304 TJ per day in 2032 as Synergy’s scheduled coal generation retirements proceed, driving up demand for alternative generation to fill the gap. This, combined with committed resources projects, will see an annual average lift of 1.7% in demand.
“The strong linkages between WA’s gas and electricity sectors mean that changes occurring in one sector will have an impact on the other,” said Ms Ryan.
“This reiterates the importance of timely investment in new gas developments, firming technology and storage solutions to maintain a secure and reliable energy system,” she said.
AEMO notes that there is a large volume of offshore and onshore undeveloped gas that could supply the WA domestic market during the outlook period, but these resources are currently too speculative to include in the potential supply forecasts.
AEMO will continue to monitor the market, working with industry and governments to ensure WA households and businesses are the beneficiaries of safe and affordable energy now and into the future.
 AEMO does not operate the gas market in WA. AEMO is responsible for operating the Gas Bulletin Board WA (GBB) and developing the WA GSOO in accordance with the Gas Services Information (GSI) Rules and relevant GSI Procedures.