The Queensland Government has given the green light to the Santos/Shell joint venture and Bridgeport Energy to start exploring for gas in the Surat Basin.
The approval means the Santos/Shell joint venture and Bridgeport Energy can start exploring on 1212km2 of land near Chinchilla and on 298km2 Tara in the Surat Basin.
Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said Santos and Shell are already major players in Queensland’s onshore $70 billion gas industry and the granting of the Authority to Prospects (ATP) will help boost gas supply.
“Santos/Shell and Bridgeport’s ongoing investment in exploration demonstrates the high level of confidence in Queensland’s onshore gas industry.
Bridgeport Energy Limited CEO Chris Way said the ATP is near their existing production hub at the Moonie field which will allow them to fast-track gas production to market.
“We’re excited to expand our activities in the region and help further secure Queensland’s energy supply.”
Santos Managing Director and CEO, Mr Kevin Gallagher said together with Shell, the company is looking forward to getting exploration under way as soon as possible to unlock new gas resources.
“Development of new gas supply sources is the only sustainable, long-term solution to ensure adequate supplies for both the LNG and domestic markets on the east coast.”
Dr Lynham said the land releases for gas exploration continued to pay dividends as shown by the latest ABS figures with our trend petroleum exploration expenditure up to $59 million for the first quarter of 2019, an increase over the year of 17.2 per cent,” Dr Lynham said.
“Exploration investment is the foundation that underpins future projects which means more royalties, exports and jobs for Queenslanders.
Before granting the ATPs, Santos/Shell joint venture and Bridgeport Energy had to fulfil all existing environmental and Native Title requirements.
Since 2015, the Queensland Government had released more than 39,000 km2 of land for gas exploration – nearly a quarter for the domestic market only.