The Australian Government plans to open up five key basins in the Northern Territory and Queensland as part of a plan to help Australia’s oil and gas industry grow following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the government would reset the east coast gas market and create a more competitive and transparent Australian gas hub by unlocking supply, delivering an efficient pipeline and transportation market, and empowering gas customers.
The government outlined that it would get more gas into the market by setting new supply targets with states and territories, avoiding any supply shortfall through agreement with the three east coast liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporters and exploring options for a prospective gas reservation scheme.
The unlocking of five basins will see the Beetaloo Basin in the Northern Territory and the North Bowen and Galilee Basins in Queensland have a strategic gas plan put in place.
APPEA chief executive Andrew McConville said Australia had world-class resources reserves, and developing these basins would provide stable, secure and affordable energy for Australia for decades to come.
“Exploration and development of these basins are critical to the enduring supply challenge Australia faces. Without exploration, there is no gas. Encouraging exploration activities by extending the Junior Minerals Exploration Incentive (JMEI) and allowing junior oil and gas explorers to access the scheme would help fast-track the exploration work that needs to be done in firming up these resources,” McConville said.
In addition, the government will boost the gas transport network by identifying priority pipelines and critical infrastructure as part of an inaugural National Gas Infrastructure Plan (NGIP) worth $10.9 million.
By establishing an Australian gas hub at Wallumbilla in Queensland, the government is confident that it will deliver an open, transparent and liquid gas trading system.
“We’ll work with industry to deliver a gas hub for Australia that will ensure households and businesses enjoy the benefits of our abundant local gas while we hold our position as one of the top global liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporters,” Morrison said.
“This is about making Australia’s gas work for all Australians. Gas is a critical enabler of Australia’s economy.”
Australian Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt added that the government’s gas plan would drive job creation and economic growth in northern and regional Australia.
“This commitment will encourage investment to unlock Australia’s vast resources potential – boosting exports, jobs and energy supplies,” Pitt said.
“Developing Australia’s untapped gas resources will help to deliver more affordable and more sustainable gas supply that supports households and businesses.”
The Prime Minister said the government would also work with state governments through a program worth up to $250 million to accelerate three critical projects – the Marinus Link, Project Energy Connect and VNI West interconnectors.
“These links will help put downward pressure on prices, shore up the reliability of our energy grid and create over 4000 jobs,” Morrison said.