Eastern Australia faces enormous 2018 gas shortage
Australia’s eastern states could be short of gas to the extent of 100-times the residential need of Wollongong.
The government has released the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) first interim report into the supply of, and demand for, wholesale gas in Australia.
ACCC projects a supply shortfall of up to 55 petajoules (PJ) in 2018, which could be as high as 108PJ if domestic demand is higher than expected. One PJ is enough to power residences in Wollongong for a whole year.
Other commentators are reporting that the supply deficit may be three times as severe as originally forecast, citing a lack of supply and competition in the market as fundamental, underlying causes.
To help alleviate the pressure in the short term, the government has been put under increasing pressure to curb the amount of gas that is sent for export.
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ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said: “The effect of higher gas prices is felt right across the economy, from households to big business. Gas and gas-powered generators are also an important part of electricity generation, so higher gas prices feed in to higher electricity prices, leading to a double hit for many.
“Over a third of the commercial and industrial (C&I) users the ACCC interviewed are considering either reducing production or closure due to high gas prices. For many of these users, gas is a feedstock to production or an essentially irreplaceable source of energy, and with the products they make often supplied on international markets higher gas costs cannot be passed on.”
Sims and the ACCC are calling on the introduction of more competition, especially in South Australia which is home to the most expensive energy prices in the world.
Domestic users in the south are facing very high gas prices, largely as a result of the expected supply shortfall in the south and lack of competition between the southern gas suppliers. Prices in the south could be significantly reduced if additional sources of supply are developed in the south to increase the level of supply and diversity of suppliers.
“This situation on the east coast is in stark contrast with the situation in Western Australia, which is not connected to the east coast gas market,” Sims added. “The west is expected to be well supplied in the short to medium term. For commercial and industrial users in the west, there are five suppliers competing for their business and prices are low.”
Timeline: India takes unicorn leap with six in five days
We chart an historic week in India’s tech industry, where in just five days, between 5-9 April 2021, the country achieved six new unicorns, bringing India’s total to 10 in 2021 to date, an immense unicorn leap from just seven in 2020 and six in 2019.
April 5: Meesho
India’s first social commerce unicorn, Meesho raised US$300m from SoftBank, Facebook and Shunwei Capital, giving the Bangalore-based startup a US$2.1bn valuation, a threefold jump from its previous funding round in 2019. Founded in 2015 by two IIT-Delhi graduates, Meesho connects producers and resellers, helping small businesses sell through social media. It has 45m customers and has enabled 13m entrepreneurs to start their online businesses with no investment.
April 6: CRED
Founded just over two years ago, Bangalore-based credit card repayment app CRED raised US$215m from Falcon Edge Capital and Coatue, nearly trebling its valuation to US$2.2bn from its January US$80m round. Allowing customers to pay off their credit card debt while earning CRED coins which they cash in for rewards, CRED has grown rapidly during COVID-19, doubling its customer base to nearly 6 million in a year.
April 7: API Holdings / Groww
The first epharmacy startup to gain unicorn status, PharmEasy (API Holdings), which has digitised 60,000 brick and mortar pharmacies and 400 doctors across India, raised US$350m in a round led by Prosus Ventures. Founded by four former Flipkart employees as a way of making investing simple, investment platform Groww became India’s second-youngest fintech unicorn, raising US$83m in Series D funding led by Tiger Global, quadrupling its previous round in September.
April 8: ShareChat
New Delhi-grown social media startup ShareChat, founded in 2016 by Mohalla Tech raised US$502m from Lightspeed Ventures, Tiger Global, Twitter and Snap taking its raised total over six rounds to US$766m and pushing its valuation to US$2.1bn. The funding will be used to grow its user base and short video platform Moj, which launched in 2020 following TikTok’s ban in India. The regional language startup claims 280m users.
April 9: Gupshup
AI-led conversational message startup joined the unicorn club after raising US$100m from Tiger Global giving it a ten-fold valuation of US$1.4bn. The smart messaging platform, which has seen accelerated growth during the pandemic, was founded in Bangalore in 2005 by serial entrepreneur Beerud Sheth, whose online freelancing platform Elance is now listed. Gupshup’s API enables 100,000+ businesses to build messaging and conversation experiences across 30+ communication channels.