The National Gas Law (NGL) and National Gas Rules (NGR) commenced on 1 July 2008 and replace the Gas Pipeline Access Law and the gas code. The National Gas (Queensland) Regulation 2008 (the Regulation), which is subordinate legislation to the National Gas (Queensland) Act 2008, provides for transitional arrangements under the NGL and NGR for the South West Queensland Pipeline (SWQP), the Queensland Gas Pipeline (QGP) and the Carpentaria Gas Pipeline (CGP).
These transitional arrangements replace the previous arrangements which provided for derogated tariffs for Queensland pipelines. Consequently, the ACCC's assessment of the access arrangements for those pipelines was confined to the non-tariffs elements.
Under the new transitional arrangements:
- The SWQP is no longer a covered pipeline and the access arrangement ceases to apply. For a period of one year no person may apply for a coverage determination of the SWQP.
- The QGP is no longer a covered pipeline and the access arrangement ceases to apply. For a period of three years no person may apply for a coverage determination of the QGP.
- Light regulation will apply to services provided by the CGP and the current access arrangement ceases to apply. (Under the NGR a service provider of a light regulation pipeline is required to publish its terms and conditions of access, including tariffs, on its website. It may voluntarily submit a limited access arrangement (non-tariff elements only) to the AER for approval, but is not required to do so.)
The access arrangements for these three pipelines contained a review trigger mechanism, which meant that a review of the access arrangement would be initiated before the scheduled review date if a specified event.
In the case of the SWQP the reversal of the flow of gas was such an event which normally would have automatically triggered a review of the SWQP access arrangement. The ACCC decided, however, to defer the review until 1 July 2008 pending the introduction of the NGL in Queensland.
In 2007 the ACCC commenced inquiries into whether a specified event had occurred that would trigger a review of the CGP. The ACCC continued to monitor the situation in light of the reversal of the flow of gas on the SWQP and any possible implications for the CGP access arrangement.
As the SWQP and CGP are now uncovered pipelines and the access arrangements cease to apply, the ACCC will take no further action in relation to the review of the access arrangements for these pipelines.