Queensland’s remote north-west minerals province – and one of the state’s biggest manufacturers in Brisbane – is about to start firing on Northern Territory gas with the completion of the “missing link”.
In Mount Isa today, Mines and Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham joined Jemena officials and locals to mark the completion of the $800 million Northern Gas Pipeline from Tennant Creek in the Territory to the Isa.
“This brings much-needed gas to Australia’s east coast market, but most importantly for the north-west, this means access to critical energy and feedstock to fuel jobs and business opportunities in the north west,” he said.
“And any local household or business connected to the electricity grid here relies on gas-powered generation.”
Acting State Development Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said Phosphate Hill, Mount Isa Mines and Cannington were some of Queensland’s largest gas consumers and also some of the region’s biggest employers.
“This is a big win for the North West, bringing a ready supply of energy and feedstock for local employers and the community,” he said.
“Access to a reliable supply of affordably priced gas is critical to the ongoing viability of our manufacturing industries.”
The 622-kilometre pipeline includes 141kms in Queensland between the Isa and the border. The pipeline has the capacity to bring up to an additional 90 terajoules per day into the east coast gas network via Mount Isa. Commercial operations are expected to start in late December or early January, with some gas already contracted outside the North West, for Incitec Pivot’s Gibson Island plant in Brisbane.
Dr Lynham said the project had generated 51 local contracts and 129 local jobs in Mount Isa and of the 431 direct jobs created in Queensland, a quarter were filled by Indigenous people. Of the 107 Queensland-based contracts, Indigenous companies won 17.
“Construction brought jobs, but the long-term benefits will be the training Jemena has provided, which has created a legacy of more skilled people who are now better equipped to work on more regional projects,” he said.
“The local employment and training wins demonstrated how regional infrastructure projects benefitted local communities.
The pipeline milestone follows a number of Queensland Government initiatives to boost domestic gas supply.
“Since February 2017 Queensland has been doing the heavy lifting to improve market conditions for domestic gas consumers,” he said.
“We are making available nearly 25,000 square kilometres for gas exploration, with around a third of it exclusively for domestic users, including a parcel exclusively for manufacturing.
“But this investment is only part of the solution for the east coast gas supply and I’m calling again on southern states to join this partnership.
“It is not reasonable for states to issue moratoriums on extracting their own gas when they are happy to import it from Queensland and the Northern Territory.
“It will only be by working together to secure new gas that we can prevent future shortfalls.”