This Carpenter built a solid structure out of gas

by | Jun 7, 2022 | Lobbyland

Amid the chaos of the gas crisis, the name Alan Carpenter has emerged as the hero of Australian resources policy.

Carpenter was the Labor premier of Western Australia in 2006 when he stood up to Exxon and ensured that 15% of the gas from the colossal Gorgon project off the state’s north-west would be reserved for the domestic market. Exxon executives threatened to cancel the project, but relented when Carpenter made it clear he would not budge.

As reported by the ABC’s business editor Ian Verrender, the result is that in WA, the spike in global gas prices has barely registered. Gas is available at around $6.50 a gigajoule. On the east coast, the Australian Energy Market Operator last week was forced to cap gas prices at $40 a gigajoule after spot and forward markets sent prices as high as $800.

If only Carpenter’s eastern state counterparts had similar foresight. Australia has become a gas superpower abroad, a beggar at home. And the crisis is sending businesses to the wall.

But a prophet is without honour at home, and Carpenter was defeated at the 2008 WA election. He is rightly enjoying a little media attention now.

Mark Sawyer is a journalist with Michael West Media. He has extensive experience in print and digital media in Sydney, Melbourne and rural Australia.

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