Australia Pacific LNG sells natural gas for solar energy ‘backup’

Australia Pacific LNGAustralia Pacific LNG

Gas giant Australia Pacific LNG will supply a further 41 petajoules (PJ) of natural gas to the Australian domestic market.

The announcement comes after criticism of Australia’s gas producers for supplying overseas buyers while driving up the price of gas at home.

Gas-fired power stations are one way to produce energy to complement renewable power such as solar. They are a cleaner alternative to coal-fired power stations for wind and solar energy backup.

Australia Pacific LNG is selling the gas to Origin Energy. The 14-month contract starts November 1 and comprises 4 PJ shipment in 2017, and 37 PJ in 2018.

To put 41PJ in perspective, one petajoule is enough to power a regional centre such as Wollongong for a year.

Increase of 20% in natural gas domestic supply for 2018

This new contract increases Australia Pacific LNG’s total domestic contracted supply commitment for 2018 to over 186 PJ.

A Liquefied Natural Gas tanker

A Liquefied Natural Gas tanker can carry around 3.2PJ of gas.

This represents almost 30 per cent of Australian east coast domestic gas demand, up from 20 per cent in 2017.

Australia Pacific LNG Chief Executive Officer Warwick King said this additional gas forms part of the LNG industry’s commitment to make more gas available to the domestic market to help address the forecast shortfall of gas in 2018.

“We have been absolutely clear from day one that Australia Pacific LNG is committed to the Australian domestic market. We continue to do the heavy lifting in meeting domestic demand for gas,” he said.

Mr King said his company was “very pleased to have been able to supply this significant additional volume of gas to the Australian domestic market”, and was actively working on more domestic gas sales.

Australia Pacific LNG is the largest producer of natural gas on Australia’s east coast. It has a number of gas production facilities in southern Queensland.

Battery storage preferable to gas power stations

Even as the additional gas means less dependence on coal stations, renewables plus battery storage still remains the ultimate goal.

Solar power facilities with battery storage will then result in a decreasing need for conventional “baseload-only” generators like coal and gas stations.

The idea is that a network of renewable energy generators like wind and solar will be unified into one grid. Batteries will then store excess power to divert into the grid when needed. Gas generators would be wind and solar energy backup.

Finally, the dream is to dispense with fossil fuels, having enough power from wind and solar to supply all energy needs.