Queensland’s ground-breaking move to produce gas for the Australian market only is on a fast track to production.
Senex – the first company to win the right to explore and produce for the Australian market only – has today gained a petroleum lease – essentially, a licence to produce.
Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said the grant of Senex’s petroleum lease in the Surat Basin meant the company would be supplying Australia’s east coast gas market within two years.
Senex won a pilot tender last year. The Palaszczuk Government used existing legislative powers to require the gas to only be sold and used in Australia.
“Since being awarded the tender, Senex has been working to obtain the regulatory approvals to commence gas production.
“Construction work can now begin on the wells and pipelines needed to pump up to 26 Petajoules per year of additional gas into the domestic market.
“This means domestic gas and regional investment and up to 150 regional jobs.”
When the gas gets to market, it will also begin to put downward pressure on electricity prices.
Senex managing director and chief executive officer Ian Davies said that reaching this important step in the project schedule would ensure the company remained on track to deliver first gas to the domestic market in late 2019.
“It’s an exciting step forward and shows we are making great progress on our commitment to deliver additional gas supplies into the east coast domestic market through Project Atlas,” Mr Davis said.
“The direct award of this Petroleum Lease is an innovative solution by the Queensland Government to help address the shortage of east coast gas and the quick turnaround of our application shows its continued commitment.”
The Senex lease is the first to come to fruition of the Government’s gas land releases for the domestic purposes.
Since Senex won its tender, two other Australian producers — Central Petroleum and Armour Energy — have won a further tender to explore for gas exclusively for the Australian market.
The two local producers will explore a total of almost 400 ha just north of the townships of Miles and Surat in south-west Queensland.
“In Queensland we continue to do the heavy lifting to meet the gas supply needs of Australia’s east coast,” Dr Lynham said.
“I see no reason why other mainland states cannot follow our lead to help secure a sustainable gas industry, including a stable domestic supply.”