The Queensland Government has given the green light to the Santos/Shell joint venture and Bridgeport Energy to start exploring for gas in the Surat Basin.
Since 2015, the Palaszczuk Government had 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,’’ Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said.
“Before granting these ATPs, Santos/Shell joint venture and Bridgeport Energy had to fulfill all existing environmental and Native Title requirements.
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“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.”
Bridgeport Energy Limited CEO Chris Way said, “This ATP is near our existing production hub at the Moonie field and it will allow us fast-track gas production to market.
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Santos managing director and CEO Kevin Gallagher said, “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 trend petroleum exploration expenditure up to $59 million for the first quarter of 2019, an increase over the year of 17.2 per cent.