An impending gas shortage which is expected to inflict blackouts up and down Australia’s east coast could prove a boon for Australia’s domestic gas industry.

Throughout 2017, east coast gas shortages have loomed as a major issue, posing a risk to electricity supplies in several States.

But despite the doom and gloom, there is a more optimistic view the gas crisis could herald significant investment opportunities for the domestic gas sector — including junior explorers.

Speaking on the first day of the Vertical Events Mining 2017 conference in Brisbane, Queensland Government resource investment commissioner Todd Harrington said the gas crisis was a big strategic opportunity for the domestic gas exploration industry.

“I think the gas crisis is the best thing to happen to this sector just from a level of awareness, profiling and support, Mr Harrington said.

“At a [Queensland] State level, we are very keen on bringing more gas to market. In an ideal world, let’s overfill the LNG trains and therefore develop meaningful and surplus domestic gas.

That’s the win we should be working towards as we move forward.”

Despite the chaos, there were significant investment opportunities.

“As soon as the gas crisis hit mainstream media, a lot of private equity guys we deal with in New York, Toronto… a lot of them have now said something is going to give,” he said.

“There will be federal incentives, there will be those who throw capital at the juniors to throw money into the ground to convert reserves.

“What we are seeing is a lot of strategic investors circling to see who to back. I think the gas crisis is the best thing to happen to the sector.”

Australia is second the biggest exporter of LNG globally.

However, despite the abundance of gas reserves in Australia, the Australian Energy Market Operator earlier this year warned of future power supply shortfalls domestically.

This may result in blackouts in South Australia, NSW and Victoria unless gas production is boosted and supplied to electricity generators.

Vertical Events’ premier flagship event, the Mining 2017 Resources Convention, is underway at the Brisbane Hilton, August 29 and 30.