The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission today issued its final decision on APT Petroleum Pipelines Ltd's revised access arrangement for the Roma to Brisbane gas pipeline.
For the first time since the gas code began in 1998 the reference tariff for the pipeline is being set by the ACCC.
Australian Energy Regulator* Chairman, Mr Steve Edwell, said while APTPPL proposed that the tariff would stay constant in real terms for the next five years then increase, the ACCC's decision is that the tariff will start at a level that is 10 per cent lower and then decrease. The tariff will apply to forward haulage using the existing capacity of the pipeline. As the pipeline is almost fully contracted, potential users must wait until around 2012 before they can benefit from a lower reference tariff.
"The ACCC has confirmed its draft decision to accept an APTPPL proposal that access to expanded capacity of the pipeline would be negotiated with users", he said. "This is seen as the best way to achieve timely expansion of the pipeline, reflecting the current uncertainty with costs, timing and capacity of expansions.
"The ACCC also agrees with APTPPL that services other than forward haul on the existing pipeline should be negotiable. These could include backhaul, interruptible and park and loan services. Prospective users will be able to use the dispute resolution arrangements under the gas code should negotiations not provide access to these services on a timely basis".
Mr Edwell said that the lower reference tariff mainly reflects the ACCC's decision that the pipeline's initial capital base should be $251.1 million rather than $346.2 million as proposed by APTPPL.
"The ACCC is pleased that APTPPL has agreed to investigate developing an electronic register of spare and developable capacity and an electronic bulletin board to help users access details of the spare and uncontracted pipeline capacity. The arrangements will support the pipeline's timely expansion".
The ACCC has requested that APTPPL respond to its final decision by 9 February 2007. The final decision is available on the AER website, see link below.
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