Jobs are flowing even before the gas as construction gets underway at Mount Isa on the Queensland end of an $800 million Northern Gas Pipeline from the Northern Territory.
State Development Minister Dr Anthony Lynham turned the first sod at Mount Isa on Wednesday with project builder Jemena.
In a ceremony at the new Compressor Station just south of the Diamantina Power Station on the road to Boulia, Dr Lynham said the project was already generating jobs and business opportunities in the North-West.
“This pipeline project (has) more than 200 Queenslanders employed by Jemena to date, and 26 contracts awarded to companies in Queensland, with half of these contracts in the Mount Isa region,” Dr Lynham said.
“I am particularly pleased to see Jemena’s focus on hiring local people, including local Indigenous people, through training and employment programs delivered in partnership with a local Indigenous training organisation.”
They include Myuma Group which has trained more than 40 people.
Jemena Managing Director Paul Adams said the NGP would strengthen the state’s gas industry and was a boon for local companies like Incitec Pivot that rely on gas as either a feedstock or fuel source.
“It provides them with access to new gas at a cheaper price, particularly when compared to the costs associated with transporting gas over long distances from the Moomba Gas Hub to Queensland”, Mr Adams said.
The NGP will run from Tennant Creek to Mount Isa and construction is due to be completed in mid-2018, with the first gas scheduled to flow later that year.
Jemena has contracted McConnell Dowell to construct a 481km section of the pipeline, with the remaining 141kms of pipeline at the Queensland constructed by Spiecapag Australia.
Facility construction has commenced at Mount t Isa Compressor Station and earthworks are currently being undertaken by Ilyanyu Waru.
First gas on the Northern Gas Pipeline is expected to flow in late 2018.
Dr Lynham welcomed the news Jemena were looking into continuing the pipeline from Mount Isa to the Wallumbilla Gas Hub, near Roma in southern Queensland.
“The pipeline extension under investigation will help connect gas fields in the Northern Territory to the east coast market, adding to supply to help ease current supply concerns,” he said.
Mr Adams said their modelling suggested the NGP can be relatively easily expanded and extended to transport up to, or beyond, 700 TJs of gas per day. “This exceeds gas used on an average day in the combined markets of Sydney and Brisbane,” he said.