Malcolm Turnbull has stopped short of pulling the trigger on gas export controls as the nation's energy regulator warns Australia still risks facing a shortfall in domestic supplies in 2018.
The government is set to decide by November 1 whether to limit exports from any of the three liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants on Australia's east coast in 2018 under a new gas security law to shore up local supply for power plants and industry.
The Australian Energy Market Operator's (AEMO) annual projections forecast a shortage of 54 petajoules in 2018 and 107 petajoules in 2019, which represents one-sixth of the country's total demand each year. Both bodies forecasted a shortfall of nearly 110 petajoules of gas next year, which could be the same case as in 2019.
In 2018, the LNG projects will together produce over 70 per cent of the east coast's gas and account for two-thirds of the east coast's gas demand. The government is expected to have further discussions with energy companies.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has rejected the prime minister's claim her government has been too slow to approve a regional gas project. "If we are not able to receive the assurances from the industry to our satisfaction, and that of the ACCC, then we will impose those export controls".
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On Monday, the Aussie leader spoke with bosses of gas companies seeking plans on how they will avoid running out of gas for the domestic market.
Victoria has a moratorium on coal seam gas exploration and fracking, but Mr Turnbull wants the state to develop more gas resources.
"Unless we fix that problem we're not going to fix the entire problem in the medium term", the council's chief Jennifer Westacott told ABC radio.
Queensland's Treasurer repeated the call for the Commonwealth to support an east coast gas pipeline to distribute gas more easily from Queensland to the southern states.
Turnbull also appeared to express dismay about the Narrabri Gas Project not being approved quickly.