The Santos/Shell Joint Venture and Bridgeport Energy have been granted permission by the Queensland Government to start exploring for gas in the Surat Basin.
Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Minister, Dr Anthony Lynham, said the granting of the Authority to Prospect reinforced Queensland’s commitment to meeting global and domestic demand with approvals processed in just three weeks.
Since 2015, the Queensland Government has released more than 39,000km2 of land for gas exploration – nearly a quarter for the domestic market only.
“This approval means the Santos/Shell Joint Venture and Bridgeport Energy can hit the ground running on the land near Chinchilla and Tara in the proven gas-producing Surat Basin,’’ Dr Lynham said.
“Before granting these ATPs, Santos/Shell Joint Venture and Bridgeport Energy had to fulfil all existing environmental and Native Title requirements.
“Santos/Shell Joint Venture has won the right to explore gas on 1212km2 of land near Chinchilla and Bridgeport Energy on 298km2 near Tara.
“Santos and Shell already are major players in Queensland’s onshore $70 billion gas industry via there established GLNG and QCLNG gas projects.
“Granting of these ATPs is all about getting the petajoules in the pipes and boosting gas supply to help meet demand.
“Santos/Shell and Bridgeport’s ongoing investment in exploration demonstrates the high level of confidence in Queensland’s onshore gas industry.”
Bridgeport Energy Limited CEO, Chris Way, said he was very pleased to be granted this ATP across 289km2 of land in the Surat Basin and was looking forward to developing the potential gas asset.
“This ATP is near our existing production hub at the Moonie field and it will allow us to fast-track gas production to market,” Mr Way said.
“Thanks to the support of the Queensland Government, we’re excited to expand our activities in the region and help further secure Queensland’s energy supply.”
Santos Managing Director and CEO, Mr Kevin Gallagher, said, “The Queensland Government is leading the way in efficient approvals processes to get investment flowing faster in gas exploration and development to increase supply and reserves for the east coast gas market.
“Together with Shell, our joint venture partner, Santos is looking forward to getting exploration under way as soon as possible to unlock new gas resources.
“Development of new gas supply sources is the only sustainable, long-term solution to ensure adequate supplies for both the LNG and domestic markets on the east coast.”
Dr Lynham said the land releases for gas exploration continued to pay dividends as shown by the latest ABS figures with petroleum exploration expenditure up to $59 million for the first quarter of 2019, an increase over the year of 17.2 per cent.
“Exploration investment is the foundation that underpins future projects which means more royalties, exports and jobs for Queenslanders,” Dr Lynham said.
“The proof is in the pudding, since 2015 the Palaszczuk Government has helped facilitate more than $20 billion worth of resources projects, creating 7000 jobs.”