The Queensland Government has named Senex Energy, Comet Ridge, State Gas and Denison Gas as preferred tenderers to explore more than 3000km2 of new acreage in central and south-west Queensland.
Senex has won tenders for natural gas acreage in the Surat and Bowen basins, as well as additional Atlas acreage immediately adjacent to its existing development in the Bowen Basin, and on trend with the Scotia and Meridian gas fields.
In the Bowen Basin, the company has been awarded preferred tenderer status for the 486km2 natural gas exploration block PLR2020-1-9, located on trend between the Scotia and Meridian gas fields.
Senex will undertake an initial four-year work program comprising geological studies, 2D seismic acquisition and an exploration well.
The company’s natural gas footprint in Queensland now comprises 2300km2 of acreage across the Surat and Bowen basins, and includes material production (Roma North and Atlas), development-ready expansions (Roma North and Atlas) and appraisal and exploration opportunities (Western Surat Acreage, Project Artemis and the newly awarded Bowen Basin acreage).
Senex managing director and chief executive officer Ian Davies said the company was uniquely positioned to contribute to Australia’s gas-fired recovery from the COVID-19 recession.
“The Queensland Government’s award of acreage to Senex strengthens our ability to leverage our established hub-and-spoke infrastructure model for accelerated supply of affordable natural gas to the domestic market,” Davies said.
Comet Ridge has also been selected as the preferred tender for two additional gas blocks in the Mahalo gas hub in Central Queensland.
The first block, PRL2020-1-1, will be named Mahalo East. Located west of Gladstone, it covers 97km2 and sits east of Mahalo North.
Similar to its 100 per cent owned Mahalo North project, the company considers Mahalo East as an immediate extension of the Mahalo gas project.
The second block, PRL2020-1-2, is set to be called Mahalo Far East. It covers 338km2 and is slightly further east again.
The block is interpreted to contain the north-eastern extent of the high-quality gas fairway and to have a large gas in place volume, providing potential upside within the Mahalo gas hub.
Comet Ridge managing director Tor McCaul said: “These new blocks, along with Mahalo North, provide Comet Ridge with a very large area to appraise and develop.
“The company plans to leverage its strong geological, operational and local knowledge, gained over many years, advancing the Mahalo gas project to its development ready status.”
Minister for Regional Development and Manufacturing Glenn Butcher said gas from some of the areas was guaranteed to Australian companies to maintain job.
“Supporting exploration maintains a pipeline of future resources projects and keeps gas flowing to our manufacturers. Any gas from more than 450 km2 of this land is guaranteed for the Australian market,” Butcher said.
In addition, State Gas, will explore 1414km2 located south-west of Rolleston near their existing Reid’s Dome gas project, with Denison Gas awarded 668 km2, located north of Injune, near their existing Denison South project.
Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane added that the resources industry had called on the Palaszczuk Government to release more land for exploration to create jobs, boost exports and drive down energy costs to help stimulate the Queensland economy from the impacts of COVID-19.
“The resources sector has played a critical role in keeping Queenslanders working and earning through COVID-19 and is central to the State’s economic recovery. Allowing industry to responsibly develop gas for both the domestic and export markets will benefit all Queenslanders” Macfarlane said.