The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission released its Draft Greenfields Guideline for Natural Gas Transmission Pipelines at the Gas Industry Forum in Melbourne today.
The guideline has been prepared to ensure prospective investors in the gas industry, understand how new natural gas (greenfields) transmission pipelines are regulated.
"The ACCC recognises there are unique risks associated with developing new gas pipelines", ACCC Chairman, Professor Allan Fels, said today.
"This guideline seeks to address any perceived risks by creating greater certainty about when a prospective pipeline is covered by the regulatory framework and what obligations are imposed if regulation applies".
Professor Fels said the greatest strength of the regulatory framework is its flexibility.
"The current system offers prospective investors a range of alternative approaches to meeting the regulatory requirements relating to third party access, depending on the nature of their particular project".
"We believe the industry is yet to realise the extent of these alternatives. The guideline addresses this by providing a roadmap of the options available to investors under the Gas Code and the Trade Practices Act 1974".
The ACCC is confident the guideline will provide greater clarity and understanding of the approach to greenfields gas regulation and address some of the misconceptions in the pipeline, investment and financing industries about the regulatory system.
"We are particularly concerned to ensure the pipeline, investment and financing industries are aware of the incentive mechanisms built into the system, such as the significant incentives available for developing pipelines with initial spare capacity", Professor Fels said.
"We believe these initiatives provide valuable rewards for long-term, efficient investment in new gas pipelines".
The development of the draft guideline included consultation with all sections of the gas industry and sought a number of expert views. Interested parties will have a further opportunity to comment on the draft guideline at a public forum. Details of this forum will be publicised closer to the day.
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