Minister for Natural Resources, Dr Anthony Lynham has announced that 6600 square kilometres of unexplored land in gas-rich Queensland is to be made available for exploration – with over 900 square kilometres of it to only supply the Australian market.
On Friday 2 November, Dr Lynham invited companies to bid for the right to explore for gas south-west of Chinchilla in the Bowen and Surat basins.
“A secure domestic gas supply is on everyone’s lips right now, and Queensland continues to do the heavy lifting, releasing more land for exploration and putting the right policy levers in place to encourage investment,” Dr Lynham said.
“The provisions the Government has placed on 917 km2 of this land will help with gas security for Australian manufacturers and fuel Australian jobs.”
“As well as maintaining gas security in our own backyard, the remaining land for exploration will strengthen Queensland’s ability to deliver on lucrative, long-term export contracts worth $11.4 billion to the local economy this year alone.”
Dr Lynham further said that the Bowen and Surat basins were key gas-producing regions already supported by extensive pipeline and transport infrastructure.
“Put simply – the land we are opening up today is perfectly placed for companies wanting to hit the ground running,” he said.
This is the fourth release of land for gas for the Australian market, after Dr Lynham announced the first 58 km2 release in February 2017. Since then, close to 18 000 km2 has been released for gas exploration, more than a third of it for the domestic market only.
Queensland Resources Council Chief Executive, Ian Macfarlane welcomed the Queensland Government’s decision, stating that opening up land for exploration is a commitment of confidence in the gas industry and another sign Queensland is getting on with the job to help ease the east coast gas squeeze.
“Yet again Queensland is demonstrating its willingness to actively attract private sector investment to create more jobs, more exports, more royalties and more gas into the domestic market,” Mr Macfarlane said.
“More gas being produced is good news for all gas customers, both domestic and export. With a go-slow on gas development in NSW and a blanket ban on some types of gas projects in Victoria, what the Southern States are really saying is they’re not prepared to support local jobs and local industry.”