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A looming supply shortage in NSW and Victoria is driving gas prices to the highest levels in more than a year.

The gas spot market hit $28 a gigajoule in Sydney today, the first time it had reached that point in the past 12 months, following a warning from the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) of a gas shortfall.

AEMO issued a “threat notice” yesterday warning gas may run short in Victoria, NSW, South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT until the end of September. The warning comes amid a rapid depletion of gas supplies from the 50-year-old Gippsland Basin gas fields in Bass Strait.

The warning heightens the political energy debate, which this week has centred on competing plans for renewable energy from the Albanese government and nuclear energy from opposition.

The gas spot market hit $28 a gigajoule in Sydney today, the first time it had reached that point in the past 12 months

The gas spot market hit $28 a gigajoule in Sydney today, the first time it had reached that point in the past 12 monthsCredit: Michele Mossop

Gas price spikes highlight the risks of energy supply shortfalls and higher power bill under the Albanese government’s faltering rollout of renewables.

Experts have warned the rollout is running behind schedule – raising the risk of higher energy bills and blackouts.

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ExxonMobil subsidiary Esso said the reduced output volumes were due to a planned maintenance shutdown at the Marlin offshore complex in Bass Strait. A company spokesman said teams would be “ramping up production over the coming days”.

“Our team has worked hard to limit any impact on supplies to customers by increasing production from other offshore facilities while the restart progresses, and we expect to return to full rates by July 1,” he said.

Gas giant Woodside Energy, which co-owns the Gippsland Basin assets with ExxonMobil, said the joint venture was taking steps to support the gas market in eastern Australia following AEMO’s warnings that supplies may not meet peak winder demand.

“We are working We are working with the operator to maximise gas production from the Gippsland Basin Joint Venture, and offering all available volumes to market,” a spokesperson said.

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