South Australia grants gas exploration funding

The South Australian Government has released the first round of grants for gas exploration and development projects in the state.

The PACE Gas grants were given to five exploration and development projects, which will share $24 million.

These include the Senex-Santos Cooper Basin pipeline project; the Beach Energy Otway Basin exploration project; the Santos Cooper Basin re-fracture stimulation project; the Santos Cooper Basin underbalanced drilling project; and the first phase of the Strike Energy Cooper Basin deep coal project.

It is estimated that the grants will deliver $174 million in new investment by oil and gas companies involved in local production projects.

The gas retrieved under the grant scheme will first be offered to the state’s electricity generators, to increase the affordability of supply and decrease power costs.

The state government will also offer for bidding a new exploration licence for five blocks in the Otway Basin which has resources of shale gas. The bids will be finalised by the end of the year.

South Australian minister for mineral resources, Tom Koutsantonis, said gas was important for lowering the state’s power prices.

“We are taking charge of our energy future and in South Australia that means making the most of our abundant wind, solar and gas resources,” he said.

“This is enough gas in the ground in South Australia to power our grid for centuries and this package of measures will help us extract more of that gas, boost local electricity generation and put downward pressure on prices.”