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3,000 square kilometres of Central and South West Queensland land is now fair game for gas exploration, as four companies were given the go ahead to start searching.

Queensland Manufacturing Minister, Glenn Butcher, said Senex Energy, Comet Ridge, State Gas and Denison Gas had won tenders to explore areas close to their existing infrastructure to get more gas to market quickly. 

Mr Butcher said gas from some of the areas was guaranteed to Australian companies to maintain jobs – including companies like Northern Oil Refinery at Gladstone.  

“Queensland has an economic plan for recovery built on its traditional strengths like resources,” Mr Butcher said.

“Queensland’s gas and manufacturing industries support more than 200,000 jobs now.

“Supporting exploration maintains a pipeline of future resources projects and keeps gas flowing to our manufacturers.

“Any gas from more than 450km2 of this land is guaranteed for the Australian market.

“That’s gas for feedstock and energy for our manufacturers and their workers.”

The four companies that have won tenders are:

  • Comet Ridge, who will explore two areas totalling 435km2 for domestic market gas.   The areas are to the east and north-east of Comet Ridges’ Mahalo North Project
  • Senex Energy, who will explore 18km2 for domestic market gas near its existing Project Atlas near Wandoan, as well as 486 km2 south east of Theodore
  • State Gas, who will explore 1,414km2 located south-west of Rolleston near its existing Reid’s Dome gas project
  • Denison Gas, who will explore 668km2 located north of Injune, near its existing Denison South project

Senex Managing Director, Ian Davies, said the award of further natural gas tenements would enable the company to increase production from the successful Atlas domestic gas project by 50 per cent and to continue to explore for, and develop, new gas resources for the domestic market.

“The expansion of Atlas, with our energy infrastructure partner Jemena, will be another demonstration that Queensland is doing the heavy lifting in supplying more gas to the domestic market and helping Australia’s gas-led economic recovery,” Mr Davies said.

“We have just invested $400 million in gas projects in regional Queensland and this new acreage means there is much more to come, with over 100 jobs to be created in development.

“Senex will also be supporting a further 30 direct jobs and hundreds of indirect jobs by providing gas to its new customer – Gladstone’s oil recycling facility Northern Oil Refinery – from the expanded Atlas project. 

“This adds to our existing portfolio of domestic customers with a Queensland presence including CSR, Orora, Visy and CleanCo Queensland, reinforcing Senex’s importance as a supplier to the east coast market.

“We look forward to working collaboratively with all stakeholders to bring these benefits, and more, to Queensland communities.”

Since 2015, the Queensland Government has released more than 80,000 square kilometres of land for gas exploration, over a quarter of it guaranteeing the gas will be for Australian consumers. 

The government is also investing $5 million to investigate the feasibility of a physical 500km gas transmission pipeline, to connect the Bowen Basin to the domestic and export markets.

The preferred tenderers must meet environmental, native title, and other approvals before exploration authorities are granted, as well as negotiating land access agreements before on-ground exploration can start.

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