AUSTRALIA’S oil and gas sector has welcomed the Queensland Government’s announcement to open 6700 square kilometres of land in central Queensland for gas exploration across five regional areas.

The State’s Resources Minister Dr Anthony Lynham announced 12 prospective parcels of land will be opened for tender across Queensland’s resource-rich Bowen and Surat basins between Blackwater and Goondiwindi.

APPEA chief executive Andrew McConville said Queensland has led the development of onshore gas fields for decades and continues to do the heavy lifting to meet Australia’s growing needs.

“Queensland should be congratulated for continuing to see the economic benefits that flow to their communities from developing and using natural gas, especially in these challenging times,” Mr McConville said.

APPEA also welcomed a new gas supply agreement from Senex Energy’s Project Atlas in Queensland to help boost domestic supply.

Under a one-year agreement, Senex will supply CleanCo Queensland with 2.55 PJ of natural gas from Project Atlas, starting from 1 January 2021.

Natural gas from Project Atlas, near Wandoan in south-west Queensland, is being used to generate electricity by supplying CleanCo, a new state government-owned generator.  CleanCo operates the combined-cycle Swanbank E gas-fired power station near Ipswich.

“During these tough times, it’s encouraging to see the oil and gas industry continuing to supply natural gas to domestic customers, including manufacturers to help support local jobs and economic growth,” Mr McConville said.

“Natural gas supply agreements provide certainty for manufacturers and highlight the ongoing investment industry is making to increase the flow of gas to the east coast market,” Mr McConville said.

Mr McConville said industry had announced billions of dollars in new investment in recent years to bring more gas into the market, supporting domestic gas consumption and export projects underpinning Australia’s economic growth.

Over the past two and a half years, there have been significant announcements from Arrow Energy, Shell Australia, Cooper Energy, Strike Energy, GLNG, Australia Pacific LNG, Origin Energy, Westside Corporation and Santos to provide new supply for eastern Australia.