Roundup: Australia's LNG sector calls for carbon tax exemption

April 12, 2011 1:35 am 

By Vienna Ma

CANBERRA, April 11 — Australia's booming natural gas sector on Monday launched a campaign to be exempted from the federal government's proposed carbon tax, arguing the energy source is helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

According to chief executive of the biggest Australian-owned liquid natural gas (LNG) company Woodside Petroleum, Don Voelte, LNG can help deliver a "better world" and should be excluded from the carbon tax.

"Everywhere else in the world understands (liquid natural gas) … (is a) cheap clean transitional fuel to a better world," Voelte told ABC Radio on Monday. "Gas should be excluded (from the tax)".

Voelte said Australia was "going it alone" in the world with its plans for a carbon tax, which would penalize gas as a clean energy source, push up domestic gas prices and the cost of living, and hurt exports and manufacturing.

He also warned that the carbon tax could be the breaking point in deferring or even canceling some of the 134 billion U.S. dollars to be invested in gas projects in Australia in coming years.

His comments coincide with a report by the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association outlining the role of LNG to reduce global emissions.

The report showed up to 4.3 tonnes of emissions are saved every time China uses a tonne of LPG instead of coal to generate power.

"There is no point in constraining the very industry that is the key to assisting the world move to a cleaner energy burning future," Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association's chief executive, Belinda Robinson, said in the report.

Meanwhile, gas industry leaders, including Santos chief executive David Knox, said the introduction of a carbon tax in Australia would make local producers less competitive than overseas LNG suppliers, such as those in Qatar and Malaysia, which have no plans to introduce a price on emissions.

Resources and Energy Minister Martin Ferguson earlier said the world is entering the LNG age, with Australia set to be the world' s second biggest supplier by 2015.

The federal government said it is willing to talk about a better carbon tax deal for the LNG sector.

The government will introduce a fixed carbon tax on emissions from July 1 next year, before moving to a full emissions trading scheme in three to five years. (PNA/Xinhua)

DCT/LDV/ebp

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