Essay by Eric Worrall
Economic ruin approaching? $60 billion of Japanese investment in Australia is in peril, along with 10s of billions of dollars exports, because of Australia’s green energy policies.
Japan’s Inpex says Australia risks unintended consequences as it ‘quietly quits’ LNG
By energy reporter Daniel Mercer
Posted Thu 30 Mar 2023 at 6:03pm
The head of Japan’s biggest oil and gas producer has warned that Australia risks undermining global security through a decision to “quietly quit” the international gas trade.
- A gas company executive says Japan has been rattled by government interventions in Australia’s gas industry
- He says Russia, China and Iran will likely fill any void if Australia exits LNG production
- A Japanese ambassador says his country depends on Australia for resources
In an extraordinary speech delivered at a federal parliamentary event on Thursday, Inpex chief executive Takayuki Ueda suggested Japan had been rattled by government interventions in Australia’s gas industry.
…Read more: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-03-30/japan-warns-world-peace-at-stake-in-australian-gas-exit/102167908
From the speech by Ueda-San, head of INPEX, Japan’s largest energy producer.
… Australia is competing for global investment and the changes we are seeing to Australian policy settings will choke investment and strangle the expansion of LNG projects in this country.
The consequence of these well-intentioned policies will be that the increasing energy demand in our region will be met by coal and not by natural gas.
The result will be much higher global greenhouse gas emissions and will make net zero by 2050 an impossible task.
On the geopolitical front, Australia’s “quiet quitting” of the LNG business has potentially very sinister consequences. The question of who will replace Australian supply into the market is front and center.
Alarmingly, the “inconvenient truth” is most likely that Russia, China and Iran fill the void. …Read more: https://www.au.emb-japan.go.jp/files/100483933.pdf (backup copy here)
The ambassador also made a speech, but the Ambassador’s speech was tame compared to the speech by the Inpex boss.
This energy policy madness is a recipe for driving inflation and mortgage interest rates into double digits.
The only reason inflation and mortgage interest rates haven’t soared into double digits is because Australia’s high value energy and mineral exports are propping up the value of the Australian dollar. High value exports make imports cheaper, which puts downwards pressure on inflation.
Rud and Nick mentioned they weren’t sure why Ueda-San is accusing Australia of “quietly quitting” on gas.
I believe the problem is gas exporters like Inpex are being squeezed between growing hostility towards fossil fuel extraction on one side, and price caps and demands for adequate supply for domestic users on the other, shrinking the supply of gas available for export.
Aussie government is making it more difficult to drill for gas – not an outright ban, but strong evidence of hostility towards fossil fuel extraction. Labor’s compromises with their Green Party coalition partners are making fossil fuel extraction more difficult.
There is also growing regulatory hostility to fossil fuel extraction. A coal field development was rejected recently over concerns it would impact the Great Barrier Reef, but climate change was also listed as a reason to reject the development of the coal field.
Coal and gas field developers notice these things.
Update (EW): Japanese companies are showing interest in methane clathrate mining.
Clathrates are a type of ice which forms when methane and water mix, at significantly higher temperatures than normal water ice. The advantage for Japan is if they develop clathrates they don’t have to rely on unreliable foreign partners like Australia. Substantial clathrate deposits may be available on the sea floor just off the coast of Japan. But clathrates are unstable. Any attempt to mine clathrates could result in large, uncontrolled releases of methane, which is a bit of a bogeyman for climate worriers.
I neglected to cite the para in the ABC story link that prompted my comment,
Japanese simply need to be up for a wicked challenge with net zero-
Huge renewable storage leap needed to make net-zero: CSIRO (innovationaus.com)
At last some common sense is starting to assert itself…
Labor just won the unwindable by-election in Melbourne. Albanese is walking on air right now. Common sense will not be in evidence until the rolling load management starts in May or June.
There is a mass neurosis in Australia and especially in Victoria.
We have just met some Melbourne refugees, who have moved to NSW for the one and only reason that they have to get away from the toxic environment that Daniel Andrews has created.
“Well-intentioned”? As the green blob wants a return to a peasant economy, I seriously doubt their judgement as to intentions.
Ueda-San is still being polite, even in his anger.
“The result will be much higher global greenhouse gas emissions and will make net zero by 2050 an impossible task.”
That’s what will make Net Zero by 2050 an impossible task?
You have to remember most of the people he is speaking to are engineering dyslexics, so he has to keep his technical explanation at kindergarten level.
Which is what allows politicians to develop what I call ‘toothpick policies’ which comes from my metaphor for most of the so called climate change ‘solutions’ on offer which is that it is like trying to put toothpaste back in its tube with a tooth pick ( cos’, loik they both contain the term ‘tooth’).
Talking about Oz, having higher average urban density”, more efficient and available public tranport and more energy efficient housing using less concrete and bvitumen etc goes to the energy demand side whereas the focus by the toothpickers is all on the supply side, i.e. pointy stick vs carrot.
(Trigger Warning:- drifting off the nomial topic but there is a link… 🙂
More focus on low rise flats, townhouses and terraces in natural hub areas of suburbia woulr seem the logical way to do creating population hubs much like the existing shopping strips in all the inner suburbs developed a century or more ago. Efficient geonetry is efficient geometry. The geometric efficiency of the carbon atom developed 10 or more billion years ago and still seems to work, despite its vilification by some, and that of grid streets and lanes is also a simple and efficient model vs that of cult de sac mazes.
I understand the commercial drivers of low density urban fringe subdivisions (was initially involved with a proposal about 25 years ago) but ill consider or archaic planning rubrics just lead to community level problems and right now housing is a massive one with associated energy consumption and hence cost implications (‘heating vs eating’ etc) even leaving climate concerns in the cupboard. Low density housing has its place in the market but so too must higher density options be readiliy available and current planning rubrics are distorting the supply side to the point that it is not a properly functioning, healthy market. We have effectively applied caps to the housing supply in both global terms (bad and dumb) and in option terms (also bad and dumb and downright undemocratic)
The only thing that will make Net Zero possible by 2050 is to eliminate most of the global population and for the remainder to use wood as fuel.
Wind and solar energy extractors consume more fossil fuel than they eliminate through their operating life.
Building enough fission reactors and associated fuel sources to replace fossil fuels would require a huge increase in many extractive industries including fossil fuels extraction over the next 30 years. There is no way that can happen in 30 years.
The sanctions on Russia have dramatically improved its current account. The BRICS are establishing a new global economy unburdened by the climate religion. They have the resources and technology to power ahead. USA is now part of the old world economy that is being sacrificed to appease the climate gods.
There is a path available.
One of the proposals to reduce the cost of solar power satellites was to set up a factory on the moon, which would shift pollution from extractive industries away from Earth.
Technology was prototyped in the 1950s which has the potential to economically transport large quantities of mass to the moon, Project Orion (nuclear explosives) or Nuclear Thermal (hydrogen being heated by a reactor).
But of course, nothing like this is going to be attempted, and even if it was, the timeline would still be extremely ambitious.
The one thing I have learnt during my life is that it takes 30 years or more to embed new technology. There are no exceptions to this. Even things that appear to make huge changes in the way we live require that time frame.
An example. Lithium batteries appear to have taken chemical electrical storage by storm. The development began in the 1960s. The first commercial lithium battery was released in 1991. In 2023 lithium batteries have made small inroads into transport and power supply systems but remain uneconomic.
You might think the first moon landing was an accelerated project and beats the 30 year time frame. Well the first hydrogen fuelled rocket was tested in 1926.
The atomic bomb. Rutherford was awarded the Nobel prize in 1908 to identify the possibility of splitting atoms. It was not till 1932 that the first atom was split and 1945 before the first bomb test.
2050 is just 26 years plus minutes away. Unless there are payloads currently being sent to the moon, nothing of economic consequence for the human race will occur before 2050..
Net zero by 2050 is not even a stretch target. The most apt description is pure fantasy.
Kerosene powered rockets were used for the first stage in the Apollo program.
Flash Gordon was popular space man comic about then, too.
The UK has it all sorted and the job is well in hand.
We’re going to flatten a coal powered plant and rebuild it as a fusion powered station
Quote:”At the time of the announcement, EDF’s plant manager for West Burton Andy Powell said: “Moving from fossil to fusion technology is an exciting prospect that connects directly to the company’s purpose, to help Britain achieve net zero. This scheme will also secure jobs in the local area for decades to come
Nothing to possibly go wrong there, we are Surely Saved
I sense a tinge of sarcasm. It deserves greater derision.
Fusion is one of the exceptions to the 30 year rule I typed above. It has been 30 years away for 70 years now. There is nothing that EDF are doing that alters that perspective. UK can only hope they buck the long established trend with fusion power projects.
They have to build a plant capable of producing more energy than the energy it takes to build and maintain it. Then they have to get approval to replicate that result numerous times over. Doing that all before 2050 along with expanding the capacity of the grid and infrastructure to cover all transport needs is squarely in the realm of fantasy.
Surely it’s time that Andy Powell was promoted to his level of incompetence. Or is he already there?
EDF’s plant manager for West Burton Andy Powell says ” I can’t wait to see it all come to life.”
Andy appears to be in his 50s. He will likely die of old age before fusion technology is helping to keep the lights on – if it ever does.
Yes. But it will keep him employed until he retires and then provide a good pension so he luvs it 🙂
The quote doesn’t say what actions in Australia he is referring to. But I assume it is the attempt by the government to see that its own citizens get an adequate share of the gas, at a reasonable price. That may diminish Mr Ueda’s profit margins, but I am not sure to whom he is looking for sympathy.
Is there anywhere you can point me to where a minister or spokesperson stated that this is their motivation?
And if so, did they specify “adequate” and “reasonable”?
I just researched this kerfuffle, and will comment below. Answer, yes, yes, and yes.
To save me going over ground you’ve already researched / covered can you share what revelations you found that specified what “adequate” and “reasonable” meant, in numbers in relation to the existing LNG supply practices?
No need to bother with a response to my comment Nick.
Rud has checked out the situation (as below).
The Gang Green carbon tax which has just been implemented by Anthony Albanese is explicitly aimed at progressively making the development and production of coal, oil and gas more and more prohibitively expensive, regardless of whether it is for domestic consumption or export. Consequently, I have with much reluctance just sold my oil and gas producer Woodside shares, for which I had had very high hopes. Now I often get these decisions wrong, and I would be very happy indeed to be proved wrong on this one, but things are not looking good for Australia, energy-wise. That means, of course, that things are not looking good for Australia, everything-wise.
I did not understand this post. So researched it before commenting. Australia is NOT ‘quietly quitting’ nat gas. It imposed some controls to insure its own citizens had an adequate supply at a reasonable price (things had spiked badly . Locals were being squeezed by all the export LNG, where Inpex just invested $60 billion into AUS to supply Japan with about 10% of its total LNG. But those are long term contracts unaffected directly by the new domestic natgas controls. So what Inpex is upset about is their future profitability of future natural gas exploration and drilling in Australia. BUT if mainly for LNG export, it still isn’t affected. Only if they explore AUS for AUS domestic supply are they affected. Inpex is the EXXON of Japan, and operates oil and gas production in over 20 countries. This is a tempest in a teapot. An Inpex bad hair day, IMO.
The Aussie government is also making it more difficult to drill for gas – not an outright ban, but strong evidence of hostility towards fossil fuel extraction.
A coal field development was rejected recently over concerns it would impact the Great Barrier Reef, but climate change was also listed as a reason to reject the development of the coal field.
Coal and gas field developers notice these things.
If restrictions on fracking and drilling were lifted there would be enough gas for everyone. Instead, investors like INPEX who want to export gas are being squeezed between price controls and below market value quotas on one side, and restrictions on gas field development on the other.
So the “quiet quitting” is a determined government effort to shrink the amount of coal and gas available for export.
I have not studied the particulars of this topic. However, in general, an operator of the size and importance of INPEX will usually be far better informed than the public and the media. It is a big part of corporate duties at that scale to be aware of future concerns. It would, in a general sense be unwise to dismiss the INPEX words. If their people have spoken in error, they will will rapidly issue a correction if they follow the traditional Japanese way. But I repeat, I do not know the details. Geoff S
You have missed the latest on the bill that passed the lower house this week. It burdens new fossil fuel projects. The Greens are out to stop fossil fuel extraction in Australia and the new bill is a significant step.
It is yet to get through the Senate but it is more likely to pass than not as it has amendments to get the support of the Greens.
This just adds cost to new projects that send investors elsewhere to jurisdictions with lower sovereign risk.
Note how CO2 is now readily and widely described as a “pollutant”. The only concrete evidence with regard CO2 is that any increase in the last century has been highly beneficial.
If co2 is a pollutant then so is water.
Water alone killed 339 people in Australia in 2022. And countless more globally.
Torrents of water killed thousands of people globally in 2022 and stagnant water killed millions of animals.
I know of one incidence where falling solid water killed a toddler in Spain in 2022. There may have been more deaths from falling ice.
As far as I know, CO2 did not kill anyone in 2022. By the measure of human mortality, water is a devastating pollutant far worse than CO2 that humans should put their collective effort into eliminating. It would prevent premature death for millions.
In fact if all the water on Earth was eliminated, no one would die from it because there would be no life on the planet. Likewise for CO2.
The release of a small amount of CO2 back into the atmosphere from where previous generations of life on Earth has stored it has been a miracle for the planet.
[ Knock, knock … ]
Hello, just a quick doorstep poll from your local friendly energy supply company …
Q1 : What do you consider to be an “adequate” supply of gas ?
Answer : As much as I want (not “need” …) whenever I want it.
Q2 : Errrr, OK. What is the highest “reasonable” price that you are willing to pay for gas ?
Answer : “Pay” ? … Nope, never heard of that word cobber … What do you mean by “to pay for” something ?
– – – – –
PS : User “Mr.” asked a follow-up question to you on the highlighted terms in the thread started by Nick Stokes just beore this one, but without my “snark / world-weary cynicism”.
I will understand if you prefer to reply to his post rather than this one.
The Green Blob doesn’t care, in fact it’s Marxist side applauds the economic destruction you do to yourself. It’s called degrowth, and they want more, much more of it. The goal is the destruction of the middle class standard of living, and thereby proof that capitalism doesn’t work.
While the Green Blob continues to use fossil fuels every day, and have kids, and so on…
The hypocrisy, it burns!
I think Australia is a perfect Petri dish for the world. They are pretty much isolated from the rest of the world, they aren’t hooked up to a neighboring grid so it’s not like they can buy power generated with fossil fuel or nuclear from a neighbor. We discontinue all fossil fuel use in Australia tomorrow. They will have to make it on solar and wind alone. There are only 26,000,000 or so people, it will be a nice sized experiment. Wind and solar will either work or it won’t. The only exemption I would make is I would allow one state to use any kind of power the population chooses but that state can not be a highly populated state rather it would be a rural state. That state can not sell power to the wind and solar states. If wind and solar work then the greens win and we should leave them alone. If wind and solar don’t work then we win and the greens need to take a hike and Australia goes back to fossil fuel energy and start using nuclear. Absolutely no interference from the greens ever again.
Electricity consumers in Australia are already on the hook for decades to come for all the infrastructure already installed or approved to get wind and solar from distant generators to where the power is consumed plus all the stabilising gear to prevent outages.
Anyone who already owns a roof can produce their own power at lower cost than grid power, which will continue to increase in price.
I once visited a remote property in the high country of Victoria where the owners had availed themselves of an all-seasons cascading stream to drop an impellor of some sort that connected to an array of batteries.
They also had a wind turbine and a rooftop covered in solar panels.
The owners were not rabid greenies – they just couldn’t get a connection to grid power.
I was interested to assess whether a property with the same characteristics / resources as mine at the time could operate effectively off the grid with the power generation & storage they had installed.
They were honest enough to tell me that their situation required significant adaption of their living habits. Such that they began to look forward to stays in the city where they could plug in and start using 24 x 7.
To sum up my visit, I asked them if the adaptions required to be “off-grid / self-sufficient” were tolerable.
They don’t do it you aren’t absolutely forced to.
So that’s the real-world experience I rely upon wrt “alternative” power sources.
I suspect your visit predated lithium batteries, modern inverters, LED lights, inverter refrigerators, flat screen television and other modern electrics that lower the cost of off-grid power. Their system was also likely to have the extra demand of water supply and waste disposal.
I have operated my fridge and freezer off-grid for 11 years now to maximise my income from the on-grid solar system. This adds about $2 per day to export income. It has returned about $8,000 for an outlay of $6,000, Now I assembled the system myself from economically sourced components that cost about the same now with no subsidies. I expect most homes in Australia could go off-grid for the cost of a medium sized motor vehicle using a commercial system. They then save the service charge, which is increasing at a great rate.
I have not had a household energy bill since I installed a wood burner 5 years ago. The income from on-grid solar system pays for the gas used in the cooktop and hotwater heater.
My wife and I are not careless with energy usage but we are not energy paupers either.
There is absolutely no prospect of energy costs coming down in Australia. The country is essentially locked into an uneconomic grid supply system that individuals, who already own a roof, can avoid.
A growing number of Australians are taking individual action against the rising costs by installing rooftop solar. Rooftop solar increased its share of Australian power generation by more than any other source in 2022. Rooftop solar contributed more energy in Q4 2022 than all the wind generators. This is adding to the Ponzi scheme and hastening grid collapse. It also erodes the income stream of grid scale intermittent generators and makes new projects less profitable. The distributors are trying to remain relevant by installing suburban batteries to soak up the rooftop solar.
Australia has essentially killed its heavy industry so there is some prospect of a transition occurring. But the end result will be very expensive grid power; probably the most expensive in the world.
The power rationing set to start by June will encourage many more to look at rooftop solar.
It doesn’t matter that they are already on the hook for mistakes that have already been made. The take away here is that when you find yourself in a hole stop digging. Making the hole deeper is not going to help. I am all for people who have their own wind and solar, more power to them but no wind or solar should be a part of the grid. The grid is to important to be screwed up by uncontrolled intermittent renewable power.
You have missed my point. If you are an electricity consumer in Australia YOU are already on the hook for what they have spent and will spend. The only way out of that is to get off grid and hope that you are not asked to pay a service charge for something that you do not use.
There is a huge margin between the wholesale price of electricity and the retail price plus service charge. That margin continues to rise at a rapid pace.
No I didn’t miss your point. I’m saying wind and solar are not up to supplying Australia’s energy needs on a stand alone basis. My thought experiment is to remove the fossil fuel crutch that the wind and solar believers have had up till now. If wind and solar are the better route show us. I think my experiment would last a month maybe two. Wind and solar are not stand alone energy sources and never will be in my view. Once the experiment is over fire up the coal and gas, build more coal and gas and start using nuclear. Most important remove wind and solar from the grid. The most they do is screw the grid up.
The only way it will change in Australia is to totally screw the grid. It is only when power does not come out of the wall socket that the inner city greens will realise there is more to electricity generation than a wall socket.
Most inner city greens know that eggs come from the supermarket. The same place as all their other food. These people are bereft of any engineering knowledge but they currently control the agenda.
I am not sitting around waiting for the grid to screw up. I have a viable alternative for myself. And I encourage others to do the same.
Australia could quite easily transition to net zero. It is one of the the best placed countries to achieve it. Norway probably the best. However any grid reliant on wind and solar will have more expensive power than you can make from your own roof. There is no benefit of scale and the cost of transmission and grid stability are horrendous.
Australia will soon be taking lessons from South Africa on their rolling load management system.
I think you are right.
For those unfamiliar with South Africa’s rolling load management system:
South Africa’s electricity system has been deteriorating for years, to the point where they now have very significant rolling blackouts. It’s not a ‘rolling load management system’, it’s a rolling supply denial system – a system of deliberate blackouts.
Alternating Current: Southern Africa’s Issue with Load Shedding
“The situation is so dire that they have even coined the term “load shedding” in a bid to minimize the reality of the risk – long periods without electricity.”
So Australia is holding back the production and supply of LNG, while Europe and Germany esp, is feverishly building LNG import terminals – expecting the stuff to save the place from freezing to death next winter.
How is that going to work?
“So Australia is holding back the production and supply of LNG,“
Here (from here) is a graph of recent Australian production of natural gas. No sign of quietly quitting. Australia is still the world’s largest exporter of LNG. It exports twice what is available to the domestic market.
A data set ending in 2020 ( i.e. under the previous government’s term (which saw a significant increase in exports as is clearly shown) and that’s applicable to a decision made in 2023 by the new ALP/Green regime about future production trends?
Classic data pea and thimble from a climate crazy.
You need to try harder at your tricksiness Nick. Penn and Teller would be rolling on the floor laughing at your ineptitude.
“Classic data pea and thimble from a climate crazy.”
And so it goes so often here. Endless claims of Australia restricting production, winding down production etc. I show the latest graph, the one currently shown on the government website. It shows what has really been happening. But it lacks the very latest years, so I am supposed to be lying with statistics. As opposed to the much more common way here of lying without statistics.
Let’s see some actual evidence of a cutback.
With such a small population. You would have to wonder why the factor is so low. Clearly opportunities missed.
For comparison, Australia uses around 6Mtpa of the iron ore it mines but ships 900Mtpa. So production 150 times internal consumption.
Yes. That is exactly what the INPEX boss is highlighting.
The Australian Greens see the best way to get the world to toe the line on CO2 emissions is to prevent supply of fossil fuels from Australia and any other location that has abundant resources. It makes any investment in import and exporting infrastructure wasted.
Greens starting position on the current bill is that there be a blanket ban on any new fossil fuel projects. Even Labor recognises that this would be political suicide for them. Hence the negotiations to just make it much harder to start new projects.
Australia will be a hostile place for fossil fuel developments. The BRICS economies will become ever stronger and independent of current developed nations, which are suffering economic decline. When the global fossil fuel resources are depleted in the non-transitioning economies, the BRICS will get the fossil fuels from those depleted economies that locked up their fossil fuel reserves. They will not even need force because the populations will welcome the economic gains.
For me, the overarching problem in Australia is decisions made on the basis of political ideology when they should be made on measured data.
We are in a dream state, where “ambition” is given more weight than “performance”; where benefits and drawbacks are not given fair balance when censorship will do; where engineering and science practice is being muted in favour of soft social theory; where economic analyses showing bad outcomes remain unspoken and unpublicised, when vague cherry-picked theories to the opposite effect make the headlines. Dream are trumping reality. That is not going to continue, because it has failed everyhere. sooner or later.
The best we can hope for here, is a sooner awakening. I have never seen bad national dreams like these in my 80 years here.
I am glad that I will not be here to clean up the certain mess that is growing. I fear for my children and theirs.
“Any attempt to mine clathrates could result in large, uncontrolled releases of methane, which is a bit of a bogeyman for climate worriers.”
But those same worriers are 100% good with restoring peat bogs which release…methane.
” … Billion Investor Slams Green … ”
Let the money talk unconstrained. Or, Let the money talk, unconstrained.
Australia is not a serious nation. It used to be a place with little work ethic but independent thinkers. Now, it’s a groupthink socialist nanny state. And I think that happened in less than 20 years.
It depresses me to say this, but when I was getting an education and early days in the workforce (say 1960 – 1970), it was socially frowned upon for anyone not physically incapacitated to not be working.
Fast forward to the 1980s, and “working the system” (ie government welfare) became just as socially acceptable as working a proper job.
And it seems to me that things have only deteriorated more.
The government teat is now the 1st port of call for uni graduates with unemployable qualifications.
Poor fella my country indeed.