Confidence continues to grow around the development of the proposed North-East Gas Interconnector (NEGI) pipeline linking Northern Territory gas supplies to eastern Australia.

“This infrastructure could be the beginning of a national gas market, as well as provide new gas for the east coast,” said Chief Executive of the Australian Pipelines and Gas Association (APGA), Cheryl Cartwright.

“The east coast gas supply situation is challenging. Combined demand for gas for export from the new LNG facilities in Queensland is more than twice the size of the east coast gas demand, putting pressure on gas supplies,” said Ms Cartwright.

“But the Northern Territory Government has gas it could sell interstate provided it could ship it there,” she said. “And a new pipeline, whichever route is chosen, could open up new exploration and production in areas now too remote to be viable.”

More than $6 billion has been invested in gas transmission pipeline infrastructure in the Northern Territory and on the east coast since 2000. This represents expanded capacity and new services to improve the efficiency of the market.

“Competition is strong to build the gas pipeline to link NT gas with the eastern market, an indication of the value of this infrastructure,” said Ms Cartwright.

“This is a demonstration that transmission infrastructure is constructed to meet supply and demand requirements; the pipeline industry is ready to meet the challenges of the market.”

APA Group’s managing director, Mick McCormack is confident that the project will go ahead.

“We remain quietly confident that the NT Gas link will be a real project and hopefully APA will be the party that builds that project,” said Mr McCormack.

The new pipeline is estimated to cost between $700 million and $1.3 billion, depending on the chosen route.

Four companies have been shortlisted to build the pipeline – APA Group, DDG Operations, Merlin Energy Australia and Jemena. A final decision on the preferred tenderer is expected later this year.

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