Leading gas producer Santos has gained rights to explore for more gas near Injune in Queensland’s south-west.

Santos GLNG and bidding partner Australia Pacific LNG have secured the exploration rights for new natural gas resources in Queensland’s Bowen Basin.

The companies have been awarded an ‘Authority to Prospect’ across an 86 square kilometre area known as Arcadia West.

APPEA Queensland Director, Rhys Turner, said the announcement was the latest in a string of new Queensland projects aimed at bringing more gas to market.

“In the past year we have seen significant announcements from Arrow Energy, Shell Australia, and Senex to bring on new supply,” Mr Turner said.

“At the end of February (2018), Santos announced that it would spend close to a billion dollars on its Roma East project, while APLNG is expected to spend $3 billion on activities this calendar year.

“While other states dither or, worse, lock-up urgently needed gas resources, Queensland is getting on with the job. The Queensland Government recognises that the only way to put downward pressure on prices is to increase supply.”

Mr Turner said the Queensland economy was a major beneficiary of gas development.

“In 2015-16 alone, Queensland’s gas industry directly and indirectly supported almost 40,000 jobs and provided more than $12 billion in total value-added activities in the state through direct, indirect and consumption-based activities.

“New South Wales and Victoria should take note. Saying no to gas development means saying no to jobs, royalties and lower energy prices.

“The failure of NSW and Victoria to develop their own gas supply means customers in those states are paying a premium for their gas. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission says transport costs can add 25 per cent to the price southern customers pay for Queensland gas.

“Interstate gas will always be more expensive than local supply.

“As the head of the International Energy Agency warned when he was in Australia earlier this year, removing the senseless state bans and restrictions on gas operations is essential if Australia is to deliver secure and affordable energy.”

Santos Executive Vice President, Exploration and New Developments, Bill Ovenden, said the tender was ideally located.

“Being adjacent to the Santos-planned Arcadia project means the company will be able to leverage existing infrastructure, reduce development costs and produce more gas,” Mr Ovenden said.

Santos will need to negotiate land access agreements and fulfil any existing environmental and Native Title requirements before the exploration authority is granted and work can begin.

Minister for Mines, Dr Anthony Lynham, said, “We are continuing to drive gas exploration and production through the release of land under our Annual Exploration Program which provides planning certainty for explorers and early notice for landholders and local communities.

“Tenders are currently open for gas companies to explore for gas in ten areas in the Bowen, Surat, Adavale and Eromanga basins.

“That includes more than 6000 square kilometres for gas that can only be sold in Australia, and not exported.”  

Another gas major APLNG recently gained a 95 square kilometre petroleum lease to in the Surat Basin.

“This area has the potential to produce 251 billion cubic feet of gas over the next 30 years,” Dr Lynham said.

“APLNG will commence production on the site within the next three years using their existing Combabula gas processing facilities.” 

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