Senex Energy and AGL announce Atlas expansion

Senex Energy and AGL have signed a deal for the supply of up to 42 petajoules (PJ) of natural gas from its proposed Atlas expansion in Queensland’s Surat Basin.

Senex chief executive officer Ian Davies said the conditional gas supply agreement, starting from January 2025, “will add critical new supply to the domestic market when it’s needed most”.

“During this cost-of-living crunch, one certain way to put downward pressure on prices for energy customers is to deliver new gas supply to market – and our domestically-focused Atlas expansion can do just that,” he said.

“More secure and reliable gas supply will help to keep the lights on for Australian households and keep small manufacturers in business.”

According to Davies, Australian energy customers will benefit from the additional supply to the domestic market represented by this agreement, and from the more than $1 billion investment in Queensland’s Western Downs region.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and Australian Energy Market Operator have forecast structural gas shortfalls in the east coast market without new supply in the coming years and have warned of the urgent investment needed to ensure enough supply.

“It also comes at a time when the urgency – and challenge – to meet Australia’s emissions reduction and renewables targets is building every day,” said Davies.

“Gas plays an essential ‘firming’ role for renewable generation by providing fast and reliable electricity to support intermittent, or “non-firm”, solar and wind generation.

“Gas is the critical safety net, maintaining the stability of the electricity grid and supporting Australia’s manufacturers as the road to net zero becomes increasing complex.”

The new gas deal between Senex and AGL and the commencement of gas supply in 2025 is conditional only on the timely recommencement of Senex’s Atlas expansion which was put on hold in December 2022 following Government intervention in the gas market.

Project recommencement requires the satisfactory resolution of regulatory arrangements and the receipt of certain Commonwealth approvals.

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