Shell Australia today announced that its QGC joint venture would continue its investment in Queensland with the drilling of up to 161 additional wells.
Project Ruby expands on QGC’s operations in the Surat Basin, and will underpin 350 new and existing jobs in regional Queensland during the 16-month construction, and sustain QGC’s gas production as older wells decline.
Shell chairman Andrew Smith said the latest project was the company’s way of continuing to supply gas into the east coast market whilst protecting valuable export jobs in regional Australia.
“This is the next significant milestone for the QGC project and a further vote of confidence in Queensland’s onshore gas industry,” he said.
“We are proud to be investing in regional Queensland, where state and local government have had the vision to establish the rules for a gas industry that creates jobs and supports farmers by providing water, building new roads and paying taxes.
“During construction the Queensland gas industry created more than 40,000 jobs, and even today after construction has been completed it employs 13,000 people.
“In a week where the actions of governments in Victoria and New South Wales have been topical, it is worth noting not one job like these 13,000 exists in Gippsland or the Hunter Valley.”
Mr Smith said local gas production means Queensland customers will pay less for gas than those in southern states.
“This is a competitive advantage for Queensland business in attracting manufacturing jobs from Victoria where gas customers will be forced to pay more for political reasons,” he said.
APPEA Queensland director Rhys Turner said the start of Project Ruby was an important milestone for QGC and the Queensland gas industry.
“The only way to meet growing demand for gas for our export and domestic markets is to increase supply,” Mr Turner said.
“The Queensland gas industry is committed to supplying gas into the east coast market. This new project will help the industry to deliver on its commitment.
“However, the sad reality is that while Queensland is playing its part in solving the supply problem, other states are still dragging the chain.
“We have the absurd situation where the Victorian Government, supported by the Victorian Opposition, has effectively banned all forms of gas extraction in their own state.”
The new wells will be drilled in 2017 and 2018 in QGC’s existing tenements in south-west Queensland.
Discussions with landholders are underway to agree access conditions and compensation, as well as the location of wells and associated infrastructure to ensure we minimise our impact to agricultural activities.