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Tasmania pipeline would be better in public hands, says Grange Resources

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World Pipelines,

Grange Resources, one of Tasmania's largest employers, believes that the State government should purchase Tasmanian Gas Pipeline Pty Ltd’s undersea natural gas pipeline.

The pipeline is the only supply source of natural gas to Tasmania. It passes under the Bass Strait from Longford in Victoria.

Tasmanian Gas Pipeline Pty Ltd and Hydro Tasmania have been in negotiations over future gas supply contracts. Their current agreement is set to expire at the end of 2017 and, while the Tasmanian Energy Security Taskforce recommended the agreements be finalised before June 2017, no resolution has been made. Hydro Tasmania has a ‘take or pay’ agreement with Tasmanian Gas Pipeline Pty Ltd, which expires late 2017.

With negotiations stalled, Ben Maynard, Chief Executive of Grange Resources, has voiced his opinion that the pipeline would be better in public, not private hands.

Maynard said the state government should purchase the underwater gas pipeline as it could provide “some real potential […] from an energy security point of view.”

He continued: “Sometimes when this is synthesised to commercial discussion around provision of the pipe, that’s where I feel maybe the benefit to the local businesses and our people could be lost or put on the back-burner. […] There are a lot of businesses that would benefit from it that can’t get access to the pipeline at the moment.”

Nevertheless, Energy Minister Guy Barnett said he was "confident future arrangement will be in place well prior to the expiry of the contracts […] However arbitration is an option if a resolution is not forthcoming.”

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