The Queensland Government has released a tender for gas exploration in an 18km² block in the Surat Basin, with the gas to be supplied exclusively to Australian manufacturers.

In 2017, the state released the first land for gas only for the domestic market.

Queensland Minister for Energy, Dr Anthony Lynham, said, “We know that an industry affected by the nation’s domestic gas shortage has been manufacturing — an industry that has been crying out for a stable, reliable gas supply.

“Once again, Queensland is doing the heavy lifting on gas policy, stepping up to provide a boost to our manufacturing industry by supplying gas they need.

“We continue to deliver on our election commitments to unlock gas land to ensure supply to our manufacturers, as creators of jobs and business opportunities for thousands of Queenslanders.”

Queensland Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning, Cameron Dick, welcomed the initiative.

“There are a number of manufacturing industries in Queensland for whom gas is a key input, and access to a reliable supply of affordably priced gas is critical to the ongoing viability of those industries,” he said.

“The Palaszczuk Government is committed to working with the gas industry to deliver a sustainable solution that continues to facilitate the exploration and development of our gas resources alongside a growing and dynamic manufacturing sector.”

Dr Lynham announced Australia’s first release of gas land to supply the domestic market only in February 2017.

Since then, almost another 25,000km² has been released in Queensland for gas exploration, with almost one-third of it for the domestic market only.

The latest block to go to tender is 22km south-west of Chinchilla.

In October 2018, Senex announced the go-ahead for its Project Atlas in the Surat Basin, on the first 58km² release of land the Queensland Government granted for domestic-only gas production in March 2018.

Dr Lynham also announced the latest successful tenders — Armour Energy and a Shell/Santos joint venture — for two more domestic-only blocks of land in the gas-rich Surat and Bowen Basins.

“Armour will add to their existing domestic-only portfolio with an additional 457km² of land 10km south of Surat, and in a joint venture agreement, Santos and Shell will soon be exploring a 393km² parcel of land 19km east of Surat,” he said.

“These land releases mean more petajoules in pipes and more gas for Australia’s east coast.

“Queensland continues to lead the nation on gas, and again, I’m imploring other states to follow our lead — doing so will secure industry and jobs, and not just in Queensland,” Dr Lynham said.

Before exploration can begin, successful tendering companies will need to fulfil native title and environmental requirements, and negotiate land access agreements.

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