Since then, high gas prices have led to the collapse of gas-intensive manufacturing groups. On Tuesday, ACCC head Rod Sims warned that ongoing high prices – and a sense of contempt for customers from gas sellers – would lead to the failure of more businesses reliant on gas.
Mr Bartholomaeus said the launch of BHP’s energy trading team – the first for the company – combines its energy buying and selling divisions and will provide a new end-to-end source of gas for customers and increase competition in the market.
However, he said a lack of stable energy policy in Australia remains a hurdle to lower gas prices and further government intervention will not remedy this problem.
“It’s about the industry working together to get up smart solutions. We just need a policy framework that supports that,” Mr Bartholomaeus said.
“From our perspective, [a market-led solution] leads to much more sustainable outcomes,” he said. “I think the industry needs to rally together around that standpoint.”
“Heavy-handed regulation just leads to adverse outcomes.
“I think we’ll find a new [price] normal, the shock of the Queensland LNG [export boom’s] impact on the market is starting to be well understood now and we’ll start to find some alignment around what the future looks like.”
He said future energy policy also needs to include emissions reductions schemes.
“On electricity policy, we need to have a visionary policy to guide future investment that recognises emissions. We’ve been very clear around BHP’s acknowledgement of climate change and the need to address that and manage that,” Mr Bartholomaeus said.
“I think we need that bi-partisan alignment, we need policy framework to let the market get on with the job.”
On Tuesday, BHP announced a $6 million investment in technology – enormous fans – to remove carbon dioxide from the air to cut the company’s global emission levels.
The team will be based in Perth and Melbourne.
Covering energy and policy at Fairfax Media.