The New South Wales Government has granted five more years for developers to commence construction of the Hunter Gas Pipeline.
The proposed pipeline will run 825 km from the Wallumbilla gas hub in Queensland to the Hunter Valley in NSW, north of Newcastle, and provide a supply route for Santos’ Narrabri Gas Project.
The pipeline was originally approved by the NSW Minister for Planning in February 2009 and has been classified as Critical State Infrastructure, but despite previously signing a memorandum of understanding with Jemena to further the project, development had not begun within the government’s allotted 10-year time frame.
In October last year, Hunter Gas submitted a request for five more years to begin developing the pipeline, which was approved by the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) last week.
The decision was opposed by Lock the Gate, with organisation spokesperson Georgina Woods arguing Hunter Gas has not done any work on the pipeline in a decade.
“The world has changed dramatically since then and there’s no place in it for this CSG pipeline,” she said.
“The NSW Berejiklian Government is puffing to keep the embers burning for controversial and unpopular CSG in the state’s northwest when they should have been doused years ago.”
But in its assessment report, the DPIE said the project remained “critical” for the NSW economy.
“It would increase the energy security and reliability of NSW, reduce its reliance on gas from Victoria and South Australia, provide a crucial link in the east coast gas transmission network, increase competition between gas transmission companies, improve the efficiency of the east coast gas market, put downward pressure on gas prices in NSW, facilitate the development of gas-fired electricity as NSW transitions to a low emission economy, and support regional development in NSW,” the report said.
“There have been no material changes to the land within the approved pipeline corridor over the last decade, and the department is satisfied that the existing conditions of approval remain robust enough to ensure the project is carried out safely and would not have any significant impacts on people or the environment.”
According to The Australian Financial Review, Hunter Gas said it is estimating the gas delivery cost would be approximately $1/GJ less than what it currently costs to transport gas from Wallumbilla to NSW through Moomba, and the company has begun talking to large gas suppliers in Queensland.
For more information visit the Hunter Gas Pipeline website.
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