Map of the proposed pipeline route.
Map of the proposed pipeline route.

The biggest news of the last seven days was undoubtedly the plan to extend the gas pipeline from Mount Isa to the coast.

Jemena are currently building a 622km pipeline that will transport Northern Territory gas from Tennant Creek to Mount Isa, a pipeline scheduled to go into production next year.

At their sod-turning in Mount Isa last month, they hinted strongly they would soon look at the next phase of the project, to link Isa to the eastern seaboard.

Now Jemena say they have struck a deal with a little-known Brisbane company named Galilee Energy.

Galilee Energy, as the name would suggest, have the rights to resources in the Galilee Basin at the Glenaras Gas Project, a rough triangle between Winton, Longreach and Barcaldine, east of the Landsborough Highway.

Galilee Energy believe this resource contains around 2500 petajoules of gas, which, according to the Australian Energy Update 2016 produced by the office of the Chief Economist, is just under half of the total Australian energy consumption each year.

Galilee believes the the Glenaras permit has the potential to become a material new source of gas supply for the east coast of Australia, especially with the shortfall of domestic gas thanks to the export market opened up by the Gladstone LNG plants.

Jemena clearly agrees with their assessment which is why they have fast-tracked plans to build a new pipeline to deliver gas produced by Galilee Energy to the east coast via the Wallumbilla Gas Hub near Roma, and they will begin engaging with local communities, conducting field surveys, and completing pipeline design concept works with the plan to start construction in 2019 and take the first gas to market in 2022.

Meanwhile, Galilee Energy will progress their appraisal activities at the Glenaras Gas Project to certify a proven gas resource large enough to underwrite the pipeline construction.

This is good news for our region as the gas pipeline will translate into a construction pipeline of work that will last several years.

It also positions Mount Isa as a key gas hub and will hopefully provide cheaper power for energy-constrained local businesses – Derek Barry