Australia approves $3.5 billion Narrabri Gas Project
The Australian Government has been talking about natural gas as being an essential part of the country’s recovery from the economic fallout from COVID-19. Now, they’ve put their money where their mouth is by granting environmental approval to the $3.5 billion Narrabri Gas Project in northwest New South Wales.
The Australian Government has been in support of a gas-led economic recovery for some time, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Energy Minister Angus Taylor spruiking the benefits developing Australia’s natural gas industry could offer since the start of the COVID-19 inflicted economic downturn.
“Gas will play an essential role in re-establishing a strong economy,” Mr Taylor said.
“Approval of projects like Narrabri backs both our gas sector and all Australian gas users – creating jobs in New South Wales as we recover from COVID19.
“This is great news for our local manufacturers, who will benefit from additional supply security and reduced transportation costs.”
And in November, the Australian Government showed just how committed it is to a gas-led economic recovery by granting environmental approval for the massive project.
Santos Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Kevin Gallagher said the conditions on the approval were consistent with those already set by the New South Wales Independent Planning Commission, and generally in line with those for the company’s GLNG operations, which have safely and efficiently been exporting LNG for over five years now.
“We accept the conditions from the Commonwealth, which are very much in line with our other operations across the country and welcome the approval that all relevant matters of national environmental significance have been adequately addressed,” Mr Gallagher said.
“Santos is excited about the prospect of developing the Narrabri Gas Project, a 100 per cent domestic gas project that will deliver the lowest-cost source of gas for NSW customers.
“The approval process has been comprehensive, transparent and inclusive, providing the community with confidence the project has been properly evaluated using the best available science, is in the public interest and is capable of development without harm to water resources or the environment.
“As the economy recovers from COVID-19, game-changing projects like Narrabri are critical to creating jobs, driving investment, turbo-charging regional development and delivering more competitive energy prices.”
Santos has already commenced workover activities on existing wells under its current exploration tenures and is working to get various agreements in place that are required prior to the next phase of development.
“This is a significant step forward for the Narrabri community, a majority of whom support the project and the jobs, business opportunities, infrastructure and community investment that will come with it.
“Santos already has appraisal wells feeding the Wilga Park Power Station powering the equivalent of 32,000 households in north-west New South Wales, there are 16 Santos people and their families living and working locally and we’re buying goods and services locally with a spend last year of $2 million.
“Now we want to do is to get on with creating jobs in New South Wales and Narrabri, and making a real difference to people’s lives in rural and regional communities,” Mr Gallagher said.
Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt said that unlocking new resources was key to Australia’s gas-fired recovery.
“The Commission’s decision confirms that Narrabri gas is in the public interest and will provide new economic and job opportunities, particularly in the regions,” Minister Pitt said.
“We recognise that the responsible development of gas fields is essential for a sustainable gas industry. We will work constructively with Santos and the NSW Government as the project progresses.”
The Australian Government’s strong commitment to the gas industry down under, and the Narrabri project in particular, sends a strong message that Australia’s gas industry is open for business, with firm commitment to major projects that will unfold in the years to come.
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