IPC approves Narrabri plans
Wednesday, September 30, 2020 - 2:37:58 PM
Mining Weekly

Santos has sought development consent for up to 850 gas wells and associated infrastructure across the 95 000 ha project area, claiming the project would create up to 1 300 construction jobs and 200 operational jobs, and would shore up supply for the east coast domestic gas market.

Narrabri has the potential to produce up to 200 TJ/d for at least 20 years, making up to half of the gas demand from New South Wales.

The IPC on Wednesday announced the grant of a phased approval, which would be subject to stringent conditions, requiring Santos to meet specific requirements before the project could progress to the next phase of development.

The approval did not include consent for a proposed gas-fired power station, workers accommodation or non-safety flaring infrastructure.

Santos has welcomed the IPC approval, with MD and CEO Kevin Gallagher saying that the company accepted the conditions proposed by the IPC, and would work with the federal government as it considered its recommendations to the Minister for Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act approval.

“Santos is excited about the prospect of developing the Narrabri gas project, a 100% domestic gas project that can provide the lowest cost source of gas for New South Wales customers.

“As the economy recovers from Covid-19, game-changing projects like the Narrabri gas project are critical to creating jobs, driving investment, turbo-charging regional development and delivering more competitive energy prices.

“This major step forward is welcome, but we must now gain the approval for the federal Minister for the Environment under the EPBC Act as well as other subsequent approvals.”

Gallagher added that while the approvals were under way, Santos would start planning for workover activities immediately on existing wells under the current exploration tenure. Once all approvals are in place, a 12- to 18-month appraisal drilling programme will follow, which will inform the final plans for the phased development of the project.

The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (Appea) on Wednesday said that the approval of the Narrabri gas project was an important step in supporting jobs and economic recovery in New South Wales.

CEO Andrew McConville said the project will unlock natural gas reserves to supply homes, small businesses, major industries and electricity generators with up to half the state’s natural gas needs, bringing substantial economic benefits to Narrabri and the region.

“The IPC’s approval of this project is acknowledgement of the already proven track record of the onshore gas industry in Queensland, where thousands of jobs have been created, billions of dollars invested in regional communities, and hundreds of millions of dollars paid to farmers, with no significant environmental impacts and over 66 000 GL of water returned to farmers for their beneficial use, or injected back into aquifers,” McConville said.

“The clearest way to put downward pressure on gas prices for customers, including manufacturers, is to increase supply and competition. The Narrabri project does just that. This is an important outcome for energy security and reliability for the state of New South Wales.”

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