Choose your path: the future for Australia’s gas market

Wed Apr 13 15:17:20 EDT 2016
By Dr. Jeff D. Makholm

In an upcoming column for the April issue of The Australian Pipeliner, NERA Senior Vice President Dr. Jeff Makholm examines the regulatory choices facing Australia as it reacts to broad consumer discontent with its illiquid and opaque gas market. A number of legal and regulatory actions from 1996 through 2001, some in which Dr. Makholm appeared, unconsciously undermined Australian Prime Minister Keating’s 1995 call for “free and fair trade in natural gas.” As the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) drafts reforms, and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) prepares to release its inquiry, Dr. Makholm describes how other major gas markets made regulatory choices for their own gas markets—particularly the US and European Union. He describes the choices needed to make workable gas markets that embrace regulatory restraint, create competitive price discovery, invite interest in derivatives markets, and pursue the type of competitive and technological dynamism regrettably lacking in Europe but on full display in the US.