Matt Kean  Speaking
Matt Kean Speaking

Kean plays a losing hand with gas energy pessimism

Energy Minister Matt Kean described a decision by energy giant Santos to financially back in its multi-billion dollar gas field proposal as "a big gamble".

In fact, it's Kean who took a massive gamble this week, talking down the long-term future of gas at a time when the state's economy is faced with the prospect of billions of dollars in investment.

As the state's planning commission gave the green light to the Narrabri gas field project, the spectacle of a state minister talking down investment in gas was jarring. The most stunning of Kean's comments were in an interview with The Australian on Tuesday. "I just think it's a big gamble for them, particularly in this environment," he said of Santos investing in NSW gas fields.

 

Minister for Energy and Environment Matt Kean, who has been talking down the future of gas energy. Picture: Richard Dobson
Minister for Energy and Environment Matt Kean, who has been talking down the future of gas energy. Picture: Richard Dobson


The planning commission, meanwhile, accepted Santos' estimate that the project would boost NSW's economic output by a whopping $12 billion.

Federal Labor Minister Joel Fitzgibbon was right in his Kean slapdown, when he said: "I'm tired of people telling investors who are prepared to put billions of dollars into these projects, that their venture is not commercial."

The timing of the Narrabri project has the potential to dovetail perfectly with our efforts to climb out of a COVID economy. Government ministers should be encouraging investment of this sort.

Kean, under pressure over his remarks, issued a statement yesterday saying he welcomed the Narrabri project. He said his remarks about investment were made in a broader discussion about the "rapidly shifting energy environment where new technology is emerging quickly".

Originally published as Kean plays a losing hand with gas energy pessimism