THE APA Group has announced plans to expand its East Coast Gas Grid with the construction of a new $80 million gas transmission pipeline between APA’s Wallumbilla Hub and the Australia Pacific LNG Pipeline at Reedy Creek in Queensland.

The Reedy Creek Wallumbilla Pipeline (RCWP) will expand APA’S 7,500 km East Coast Grid by a further 50 km providing a key link to the Wallumbilla Gas Hub for one of the 3 major LNG projects operating out of Gladstone.

APA will design, build, own and operate the pipeline. As part of the project, APA will also construct the associated connection and compression facilities.

APA has entered into a 20-year contract with Australia Pacific LNG Marketing Pty Limited to provide a bi-directional service of up to 300 TJ/d on the new pipeline.

“This new greenfield pipeline continues APA’s growth focus with another strategic energy infrastructure asset underwritten by a long-term contract with a highly creditworthy counterparty. It is always very pleasing to further our relationships with existing customers and offer additional services and facilities to add value to and enhance their operations,” APA Group managing director, Mick McCormack, said.

“Following processing of the required pipeline development approvals and access arrangements, APA will commence construction in 2017, with the pipeline forecast to be commissioned around the middle of 2018.

“APA continues to pursue a growth strategy, and the RCWP project is one of a number of growth opportunities ahead of us,” Mr McCormack said.

Job creation

Welcoming the announcement, the Queensland Government said the construction project would offer 170 jobs.

“The construction of this pipeline is great news for jobs,” Queensland’s State Development Minister Anthony Lynham said today.

“With construction to start in 2017, the project is estimated to create 170 jobs including 20 permanent jobs within land access, approvals, technical design and procurement teams and 100 to 150 jobs for the construction phase of the project.

Dr Lynham said this would give APLNG the flexibility to send gas either to Gladstone for export LNG production or directly to the domestic gas market.

“My Department of Natural Resources and Mines is currently assessing APA’s application for a petroleum survey licence as the first step to investigating various alternative pipeline routes between the existing facilities,” he said.

“The resources industries continues to provide jobs and business opportunities for Queensland’s regional communities, with this project coming on top of QGC’s $1.7 billion Charlie natural gas development near Wandoan,” he said.

The new APA pipeline will have a capacity of up to 300 terajoules a day and mean that more Queensland gas can be transported to southern states via Wallumbilla and then to Moomba in South Australia.

Australia Pacific LNG CEO, Page Maxson, said the bi-directional pipeline will securing firm, direct access for the company’s gas to the market.

“Australia Pacific LNG’s strong reserve position provides flexibility and, given Wallumbilla Hub’s position as a strategic point in the east coast gas market, this new pipeline will provide us the opportunity to participate flexibly and fully in Australia’s dynamic gas market,” Mr Maxson said.

Australia Pacific LNG is the largest producer of natural gas in eastern Australia, currently providing approximately 25 per cent of domestic gas to the east coast market.

“As one of Australia’s main suppliers of domestic gas, Australia Pacific LNG supports the work that the COAG Energy Council, AEMC and AEMO have done in establishing and working with industry to ensure the Hub’s success,” Mr Maxson said.

Repairs to a damaged gas main at Arthurs Seat near Dromana in Victoria are complete.

Normal gas supplies have been restored and customers can resume their normal gas usage.