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Late Santos submission reveals company’s paradoxical price arguments

The Independent Planning Commission has been urged to scrutinise apparent contradictions in Santos’ arguments in favour of its Narrabri gasfield price after the oil and gas producer lodged new and flawed economic claims.

In its countering submission, Lock the Gate Alliance has pointed out that Santos “is attempting to maintain several contradictory positions about gas prices”.

LTGA NSW spokesperson Georgina Woods said Santos was attempting to argue that its Narrabri gasfield would lead to cheaper gas, while at the same time saying its ability to sell the gas at a higher price underpinned the economic case.

“Santos on the one hand argues a high price is needed to bring about the economic case for the gasfield, while on the other tries to suggest it will provide cheaper gas for consumers,” she said.

“Santos isn’t a charity - it has no interest in providing cheaper gas to consumers and its latest flawed price logic proves it.

“This is the paradox of Australia’s gas industry. Companies claim the gas they will produce is needed by commercial and energy gas users, but in order for it to be worth the expenditure, the companies need a much higher price for their gas than these users can afford.

“The core justification for the Narrabri gas project is that the gas that would be produced is “needed” by New South Wales. This question is bound up with the role of gas in New South Wales’ energy system over the next two decades, the adequacy of supply in the eastern gas market, and climate change policy. The information Santos has provided to the IPC about these matters is contradictory. 

“It is absolutely crucial that the IPC separate Santos’ interests from the public interest when Commissioners make their decision."

Ms Woods said there were other obvious flaws in Santos’ latest submission.

“Santos still has no idea what it will do with the massive volumes of salt waste and brine it would bring to the surface at its gasfield. Nor has the company adequately addressed the numerous expert scientific critiques of its utterly flawed groundwater impact analysis," she said.

“These significant discrepancies cannot be reconciled without further advice being obtained, independently of the department and from experts that have no association with any company involved in this project or the gas industry more broadly.

“The IPC must either source this independent expert advice, or it can come to the conclusion that so many scientists and locals have already come to - this dangerous, polluting gasfeld proposal simply is not worth the risk.”

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