The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) has voiced support for the State Government’s release of Surat Basin exploration tenements with strict Australia-only sale conditions on gas produced.
QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said the pilot exploration project would help secure a reliable and affordable supply of gas to business and industry.
“It’s common knowledge the eastern seaboard of Australia is facing a gas shortage and instead of putting their head in the sand the government is opening up 58sq km of land for exploration,” he said.
“Once again Queensland is leading the way in securing the energy security of Australia.
“The proactive release of new tenure conditioned for domestic market is an innovative response by the Queensland government to the lack of political backbone shown by the governments of NSW and Victoria.”
Natural Resources and Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham described gas as a significant transitional energy source as Queensland headed to a renewable energy future.
“Secure energy supplies is growing as a critical factor when businesses make decisions about when and where they invest, expand and create jobs,” he said.
“The Palaszczuk Government is job-focussed and we are prepared to try innovative measures like this pilot to generate support private sector investment and job creation.
“This is a pilot to see what can be achieved and how the market reacts.”
The Department of Natural Resources and Mines will release the land in south-west Queensland to competitive tender by February, using existing legislative powers to place a condition on the tenure preventing the gas operator exporting the gas.
The land release comes on top of 11,000 km2 recently awarded for gas exploration in the Cooper and Eromanga Basins, and 450 km2 in the Surat and Bowen basins.
Dr Lynham said the pilot would have no impact on existing gas producers or contracts in the state’s $70 billion LNG industry.