Queensland’s Southern Downs Regional Council has scrapped plans for a new reticulated natural gas pipeline from Toowoomba to Warwick, with the project deemed unfeasible.
The pipeline was determined as unfeasible following investigations by Southern Downs Regional Council’s Economic Development Unit.
The Council resolved to close its investigations into the provision of a reticulated gas pipeline for the time being, but would further consider the project during the development of its Corporate Plan.
Southern Downs Regional Council’s Mayor, Tracy Dobie said council officers had undertaken extensive consultation in relation to the feasibility and economic viability of the pipeline.
“Officers have worked in conjunction with representatives from the Department of State Development and Australia’s largest natural gas infrastructure business, APA Group, as well as consulting widely with businesses, industry and residents, including our neighbouring Clifton Chamber of Commerce,” Ms Dobie said.
“The investigation encompassed several aspects. Past desktop studies were considered in detail, with an online gas usage survey undertaken with commercial, health and industrial businesses to gauge the need for a reticulated gas supply to Warwick.
“Council officers also carried out personal interviews with local businesses and industry, and held meetings with potential users to gauge interest in this type of infrastructure.
“The online survey and extensive business and industry consultations indicate that there would simply not be a sufficient level of usage to make a reticulated gas pipeline economically viable at this time.
“With the cost of the pipeline estimated at $40–$50million, to justify this level of infrastructure investment by APA Group, there would need to be significant usage in the order of two to three petajoules per annum. At the moment, the usage for Warwick is gauged at 0.22 petajoules per annum.”
Ms Dobie said that along with the huge gap in the required usage levels, advances in the capacity to store solar generated electricity in batteries, and emerging technologies that allow businesses to generate bio-gas on site, adds more weight to the decision that the project is unviable at this time.
“However, we don’t want to lose sight of this as an idea that could be re-visited in the future, so we will certainly keep it on the agenda for consideration in the development of the Corporate Plan,” Ms Dobie said.