AGL abandons coal seam gas as fossil firms stake claims to looming scraps

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In a major win for Australian farmers, energy company AGL has announced it is abandoning coal seam gas operations due to depressed global oil prices. AGL has seen the writing on the wall and decided to get out of fossil fuels rather than fight for scraps in a volatile market, and investors clearly agree. The company’s share price rose on the announcement to quit CSG, as it did last year when AGL declared its commitment to shut all its coal-fired power stations by 2050 and move towards a fossil constrained future. The situation is far different for those refusing to acknowledge the reality, with Shell reporting an 87 per cent decline in annual profits this week, putting 3000 on the chopping block. Other oil majors Statoil and BP are in a similar state, with the latter reporting US$5.2 billion in losses and a cut of 10,000 jobs. The future is clear and here: renewables are booming, and the countries and companies that embrace them are wealthier and healthier.

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  • “Exiting our gas assets in NSW has been a difficult decision. AGL has invested significantly in these projects and communities over the past seven years. We are talking about potential investment of a billion dollars, so we had to make sure there were returns for shareholders. That has increasingly become uncertain in recent weeks.” – AGL chief executive Andrew Vesey
  • “Common sense has won over money. I’ve always believed it is critical that we protect our water. I’m so happy that this has happened.” – Greater Taree City Council Mayor, Paul Hogan
  • “Our community overwhelmingly will be ecstatic about this. The uncertainty around this industry has always been frightening to us.” – Gloucester Mayor, John Rosenbaum
  • “This is a wonderful and smart strategic decision by AGL to get out of a fossil fuel that was floundering in the face of community opposition, concern about pollution and climate change, and an accelerated transition to renewable energy. The Greens recognise that AGL seems to be making a significant efforts to transition itself from climate baddie, to an energy company with a clean future.  We hope this continues.” – NSW Greens Mining spokesman Jeremy Buckingham

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