The halt on onshore conventional gas exploration in Victoria has been lifted. (Image: Adobe)

Companies will be able to again search for gas in Victoria with the lifting of a nine-year moratorium from today. But regardless of what they find, exploitation of onshore reserves won’t fix the state’s predicted gas shortage and rising prices, according to the state government’s own investigation.

The Andrews government announced last year it was lifting the halt on onshore conventional gas exploration, imposed by the Baillieu government in 2012, after a three-year investigation by the Geological Survey of Victoria found that restarting the industry could be done with “minimal environmental impact” and generate up to $300 million a year for regional economies.

The survey estimated that up to 830 petajoules of gas — about four times the state’s annual consumption — could be found in the Otway and Gippsland basins. But it concluded that would not be enough to affect gas prices or meet an expected supply shortage in the state as soon as 2024.