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The State Government is backing a pre-feasibilty study for a new 500km gas pipeline to connect gas reserves in the Bowen Basin to the east coast domestic market and overseas customers.

It will contribute $5 million for the study as part of the recovery plan for Central Queensland, and is seeking a further $5 million in matched funding from the Australian Government.

The pipeline project could create more than 1000 jobs during construction and would supercharge the opening up of gas production in the Bowen Basin, bringing many more jobs to the region, the government says.

The study will seek to:
  • analyse gas prospectivity and sources of fugitive emissions in the area
  • identify opportunities for industry involvement in the development of the pipeline
  • determine feasibility and best pathway for the infrastructure.

Flow-on effect for manufacturing growth

Gas company Blue Energy is a long-time advocate of establishing a new pipeline south from Moranbah to realise the potential of Bowen Basin gas reserves.

Chief executive officer John Phillips said news of the study funding was very encouraging and that the government should be commended for that commitment.

“There’s a lot of gas in the Bowen Basin that has been undeveloped for many years and I’ve been saying for a long time it’s such a large resource that’s already proved, it just needs to be developed – and a pipeline to the south would definitely do that,” he said.

The area had existing discovered gas resources of around 15,000 petajoules, which was enough to supply the east coast domestic gas market for 30 years, he said.

Tapping this would take pressure off energy prices, foster manufacturing growth and assist in the development of new industries in the Central Queensland region, Mr Phillips said.

“I think the time for the Bowen Basin is here, and it will put downward pressure on gas prices and increase the number of jobs, both in the construction of pipeline and development of the gas fields but also in the manufacturing sector. The flow-on effect is going to be huge,” he said.

Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane said the feasibility study into a gas pipeline from the Bowen Basin was a request in the QRC and AMEC’s Resource Industry Recovery Agenda.

“QRC believes the new gas pipeline can aggregate gas collection to increase the supply of gas across the region and lower the cost of delivering it to customers,” he said.

“It will also maintain downward pressure on the delivered price of domestic gas.  There is also a role for the Australian Government’s Northern Australian Investment Facility to consider how it can support pipeline proposals.”

It is anticipated the gas pipeline study will take about 12 months to complete.