A VITAL link that will bring new gas to Australia’s east coast gas market has been completed and will begin commercial operations in less than a month.

Australian Pipeline and Gas Association (APGA) CEO Steve Davies said pipeline owner and operator Jemena had provided local businesses with many opportunities during construction of the 622km Northern Gas Pipeline between Mount Isa and Tennant Creek.

“Now towns, businesses and resource projects along the pipeline will also have an opportunity to benefit from the new gas brought to the area,” Mr Davies said.

“Importantly, the tight conditions in the east coast gas markets may be somewhat eased because of this injection of supply.

“With the NGP, Jemena has assisted Australia’s homes and businesses to have the gas they need.

”The delivery of this energy to the east coast is important. Most people don’t realise that gas provides more usable energy than electricity. If we don’t have gas, we have a problem.

“The most recent statistics show that in 2016-17, natural gas provided 911 petajoules of energy compared to electricity’s 820 petajoules.

“With 80 per cent of the NGP’s capacity already contracted, Jemena is already planning for the future, considering expanding and extending the pipeline so that it might carry more than seven times the current volume in future, depending on proven gas reserves in the Northern Territory.

“Gas pipelines continue to provide efficient, flexible and valuable services to the economy. While the distances gas is being transported is increasing, transmission costs remain a small percentage of gas bills for industrial, commercial and residential consumers.

“APGA and its members look forward to more successful projects like this one as they ensure that gas has a bright future in Australia and that the pipeline industry is well-placed to meet future requirements.