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Duke’s up for projects despite draft decision

THERE may have been some doom and gloom about the recent Office of Gas Access Regulation draft decision on the Dampier to Bunbury natural gas pipeline, but both Epic Energy and Duke Energy remain keen on gas pipelines in Australia.

Epic is clearly focused on getting its high pressure Darwin to Moomba gas pipeline project up and running, describing it as “one of Australia’s largest ever resource projects”.

Speaking at the recent WA Power Conference, Epic chief executive officer Sue Ortenstone was eager to emphasise the company’s core business was to build and manage such projects.

The 2,600 kilometre Darwin to Moomba line would be “Australia’s energy lifeline for the 21st century”, she said.

Epic believes the pipeline will accelerate market growth, feeding into at least two other connections and supplying gas to the Northern Territory, South Australia, New South Wales and Queensland.

Ms Ortenstone said the “whole of Australia” would benefit from the project, with large industrial cust-omers switching to natural gas.

However, Ms Ortenstone was much less enthusiastic about the potential significant conflict between the National Access Regime and National Access Code, and the Nat-ional Pipelines Advisory Com-mittee’s inability to reconcile both bodies.

She lamented the fact that this scenario meant pipelines such as the Darwin to Moomba line would be built for today’s market only and not for the future.

Like Epic Energy, Duke Energy International is no stranger to gas pipelines or power generation and transmission.

Duke’s Australian interests include both the Queensland and Eastern gas pipelines and an 11.8 per cent interest in the Goldfields Gas Transmission pipeline.

And as with Epic’s Dampier to Bunbury natural gas pipeline, the owner-submitted tariffs for the Goldfields line were knocked back in April this year, in another Office of Gas Access Regulation draft decision.

Duke is experienced in pioneering projects, currently constructing the first natural gas pipeline to connect Tasmania to the mainland Australian gas system and converting Tas-mania’s Bell Bay power station from oil to gas.

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