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CANBERRA, Australia (AP) -- Australia's prime minister has warned energy companies they will be restricted from exporting gas if Australians are not provided with adequate supplies at internationally competitive prices.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said Thursday it was unacceptable that Australia was about to overtake Qatar as the world's biggest exporter of liquid natural gas yet domestic gas users face shortages and sky-rocketing prices.

He says Australia is entitled under its international trade agreements to protect local industry from gas shortages by preventing companies such as ExxonMobil, Shell, Santos and Origin from fulfilling export contracts from July 1.

Australian Energy Market Operator, which manages the national grid, recently warned of potential shortages of gas-fired electricity across southeast Australia by late next year.