The Queensland Government has given the green light to a joint venture between Santos and Shell, and for Bridgeport Energy to start gas exploration in the Surat Basin to boost future gas supply.
Santos and Shell have won the right to explore gas on 1212 square kilometres of land near Chinchilla, while Bridgeport will explore on 298 square kilometres near Tara.
Kevin Gallagher, Santos chief executive officer, commented: “Together with Shell, our joint venture partner, Santos 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.”
Queensland Natural Resources, Mines and Energy minister Anthony Lynham said the approval reinforced the state’s commitment to meeting global and domestic gas demand.
“This approval means the Santos/Shell joint venture and Bridgeport Energy can hit the ground running on the land near Chinchilla and Tara in the proven gas producing Surat Basin,” he said.
“Granting of the authority to prospect’s is all about getting the petajoules in the pipes and boosting gas supply to help meet demand.”
The Queensland Resources Council also welcomed the decision, with chief executive Ian Macfarlane saying the onshore investment demonstrated the state’s ability to continue supplying gas.
“We back our resources industry in Queensland, and that means industry and government working together to increase the supply of gas for both domestic and LNG customers while supporting local jobs,” he said.
“Reliable and affordable gas is a must-have for Australian industries, including refining and manufacturing.”