Senex’ Western Surat Gas Project in Queensland. Image: Senex.
BY ELIZABETH FABRI
SENEX Energy has secured rights to develop a new petroleum lease in the Surat Basin, QLD, that will produce gas for domestic consumption from as early as 2019.
Within a highly prospective tenement near Miles, the 58sqkm coal seam gas acreage was awarded as part of the QLD Government’s domestic gas pilot project announced earlier this year amid narrowing east coast gas supply.
The acreage is believed to contain P50 recoverable gas volumes of 201 petajoules (PJ) and is capable of sustaining production rates of more than 30 terajoules per day at plateau.
Over the next two years, Senex plans to invest more than $200 million to drill about 100 wells and build supporting infrastructure, and will begin engaging with domestic customers in 2018.
Senex managing director Ian Davies applauded the State Government’s steps to increase the supply of gas for the east coast, and welcomed the opportunity to be part of the solution.
“With extensive experience and a proven track record, Senex has been entrusted to deliver this important energy resource to market,” Mr Davies said.
“This award enables Senex to materially expand its gas business while delivering energy security to domestic customers and opportunities for the local community.”
State Natural Resources and Mines minister Dr Anthony Lynham said QLD was “leading the nation” with practical measures to increase domestic gas supplies that support local jobs.
“Around 150 jobs are expected to be created, [and] importantly this land is adjacent to existing gas infrastructure which will help to fast-track production from wellhead to market,” Dr Lynham said.
“Senex must now negotiate land access agreements and fulfil all existing environmental and Native Title requirements before the Petroleum Lease is granted and work can begin.”
Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA) QLD director Rhys Turner said the tender was further evidence the State was doing the heavy lifting in bringing more gas to the market.
“While other states dither or, worse, lock-up urgently needed gas resources, Queensland is getting on with the job,” Mr Turner said.
“The State Government recognises that the only way to put downward pressure on prices is to increase supply.”
QLD Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane also welcomed the news.
“This demonstrates Queensland is getting on with the job of opening up new gas supplies while political interference in New South Wales and Victoria has completely stalled gas exploration,” Mr Macfarlane said.
A day following the announcement, Dr Lynham opened up a second tendering opportunity for 395sqkm of land in the Surat and Bowen basins, with entries closing on 8 December.
“I would encourage companies to make their bids to develop these new areas,” Dr Lynham said.
“I expect to be able to announce the preferred tenderers in the first quarter of next year.”