By Annette Shailer

Western Australia’s Capel Vale winery is expected to close its bottling operations within days as a result of the June 3 gas explosion at Apache Energy’s Varanus Island gas processing plant.

The cause of the incident is still unknown, cutting Western Australia’s domestic gas supplies by a third and affecting many industries.

Capel Vale founder and owner, Dr Peter Pratten, said everybody was working very hard to resolve this by the end of the week.

“There are around 100 wineries that use our bottling operation so a lot of people will be affected by this, not just our winery,” Pratten said.

“The other options are too expensive. To change to nitrogen for instance is more expensive and not as effective,” Pratten said.

Many businesses are struggling to maintain operations including Coca-Cola Amatil, which has scaled down operations and begun freighting soft drinks from the Eastern states.

Coca-Cola Amatil media and public affairs director, Sally Loane, said many businesses had been affected, including pubs needing CO2 for postmix and tap beer.

“We won’t be closing operations but we will be scaling them back as we only have about another week’s worth of CO2,” Loane said

Western Australian premier, Alan Carpenter, said the explosion has cut gas supplies by 30 per cent and will take months not weeks for the gas to be restored.

“We all need to pull together when events like this occur,” Carpenter said.

“While there is no threat to electricity or gas supplies for households, the energy saved though more efficient residential use can be diverted to the industries in need,” Carpenter said.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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