Licence opens the way for gas flow

Queensland’s first “domestic-only” gas supply moved a step closer with a licence awarded to start construction of a gas processing plant near Wandoan on the Western Downs.

Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said today the State Government has issued a petroleum facility licence allowing Jemena to build a plant to process gas from Senex Energy’s Project Atlas in the Surat Basin.

The plant is part of Jemena’s $140 million Atlas gas pipeline project, which will create 150 jobs and connect Project Atlas to the Wallumbilla Gas Hub in south-west Queensland.

“From Senex’s production field to Jemena’s processing and transportation to customers, this gas will stay in Australia to power local jobs,” Dr Lynham said.

“Queensland continues to do the heavy lifting on gas supply and this will have benefits for Australian businesses and contribute to future energy security.

“Gas is expected to be flowing to Australian businesses by the end of this year.

“While other states close their doors, Queensland continues to rise to the challenge of bringing energy and feedstock to our manufacturers to maintain jobs.”

Senex managing director and chief executive officer Ian Davies said the decision was great news for Project Atlas and for gas customers in eastern Australia.

“Senex strongly supports the Queensland Government’s far-sighted policy to introduce more natural gas into the domestic market,” Mr Davies said.

“This approval brings that outcome closer, keeping us on schedule to deliver gas from Project Atlas by the end of 2019. The decision also keeps us on track to create further jobs in construction and operations as well as business opportunities in the Western Downs.”

Jemena’s Managing Director, Frank Tudor, said the licence meant the company could now advance its jobs plan in the region.

“This is a win for people in regional Queensland,” he said.

“In the coming weeks and months we will be holding a series of information sessions across the region to discuss the project, outline job and other opportunities, and to hear directly from the community about how they would like to be involved.”

Senex’s project is on 58 km2 of land the Queensland Government granted for domestic-only gas production in March 2018.

Almost 25,000 km2 has been released in Queensland for gas exploration since early 2017, almost a third of it for the domestic market only.

“Queensland gas is in demand around the world,” Dr Lynham said.

“Our challenge has been to pull the right policy leavers to ensure we maintain the export commitments that see billions of dollars flow into the state’s economy every year, while also opening new land for gas for domestic use.

“And we are also diversifying our energy mix, with approval given late last year to New Zealand company Cypress, which will see exploration for oil kick off in Moonie Fields located within the Surat Basin.”

Gas from Senex’s wells will be compressed at Jemena’s 40 terajoule/day processing plant and be transported in Jemena’s pipeline to Wallumbilla, and onward only to Australian customers.

Jemena also has a 622-kilometre pipeline bringing an additional 90 terajoules per day into Australia’s east coast gas network via Mount Isa.

Dr Lynham said the current Queensland Exploration Plan, the third exploration program released since 2016, supported resources development by providing certainty to investors as well as landowners, traditional owners and local communities.

“This strategy provides the investment certainty that industry needs and has put Queensland firmly on the map as a great place to do business,” he said.

“Queensland has a pipeline of almost $25 billion worth of publicly announced or committed resources projects that will provide resources jobs well into the future.”

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