Gas industry shrugs off job worries

  • AAP

Australians should welcome the nation's looming gas boom, despite warnings it will cost thousands of jobs, a global industry body says.

Meeting in Australia this week, the International Gas Union said Australia was on the way to overtaking Qatar as the world's top gas exporter by the end of the decade.

The comments come less than a week after Manufacturing Australia warned 10,000 jobs would be lost unless the federal government intervened to keep cheap gas available for domestic use.

IGU vice president David Carroll, who heads the Illinois-based Gas Technology Institute, said he believed liquefied natural gas exports (LNG) would benefit Australia.

"There has been independent study after study commissioned by the US department of energy that indicates the more gas we export from the US the more our economy benefits," he told reporters.

"As a net overall its a benefit to our economy and in geopolitical relations and a variety of things."

IGU president Jerome Ferrier, a senior executive at French giant Total Oil, said Australian gas exports were an exciting opportunity to supply the world's fastest growing economies in the Asia-Pacific.

The IGU supports market based principles when it comes to gas prices, but Mr Ferrier said he supported the methods employed by newly emerging gas producing African nations, where gas supplies are reserved for their poor populations.

Canada, Israel, Qatar and the US -- where manufacturers are enjoying cheap energy thanks to the shale boom -- all reserve gas for domestic use.

Among those to call for intervention to protect Australian gas users from soaring export-parity prices include US-based Dow Chemical chairman Andrew Liveris and the heads of Incitec Pivot, Brickworks and BlueScope Steel.