WA has urged the Commonwealth to apply its “use it or lose it” policy for energy companies holding undeveloped offshore gas field licences. 

The policy allows governments to pressure holders of several significant gas fields to either proceed with development or forfeit their rights within five years.

The call for action comes amid warnings from the WA state government about a looming gas shortage that could threaten local industries and energy security. 

The state’s energy minister has officially requested federal authorities not to extend retention licences for major fields unless development commitments are clear.

The energy sector, represented by Australian Energy Producers chief executive Samantha McCulloch, has expressed concerns over the Albanese government's energy policies. 

According to McCulloch, these policies have undermined investor confidence and jeopardised Australia's reputation as a reliable energy partner. 

She says there is a need for regulatory stability to encourage investment in the necessary gas supply projects for Australia’s energy future.

“Recent federal policy decisions and interventions have damaged investor confidence and Australia’s international reputation as a reliable energy partner,” McCulloch has told reporters. 

Despite the pressure, both state and federal governments have remained tight-lipped about which specific companies might be pushed towards development. 

Energy giants such as Chevron and Santos are among those with pending applications for retention licences.

WA Premier Roger Cook says the state’s energy future must be secured through active development of these assets. 

“We can only do that if we continue to have a good supply of gas,” Cook says/ 

The potential gas shortage poses a serious threat not just to energy security but also to major local industries, including chemical, fertiliser, and aluminium manufacturers in WA. Additionally, the state’s plans for increasing local processing of critical minerals hinge on a stable and sufficient gas supply.

In response to these challenges, Chevron has promised significant investments in new gas fields to ensure the ongoing operation of its Gorgon and Wheatstone facilities at full capacity. As discussions continue, the federal government maintains its focus on refining the offshore petroleum regulatory regime to better meet the objectives of the Future Gas Strategy, according to a spokesperson for Federal Resources Minister Madeleine King.