The Queensland Government has announced the pending release of land for coal seam gas exploration with strict Australia-only sale conditions on the gas produced. Natural Resources and Mines Minister, Dr Anthony Lynham, said the government would release the land under a competitive tender for petroleum and gas exploration in the Surat Basin.
With increased concern about natural gas shortages on the Australian eastern seaboard, the State Government is taking steps to increase gas exploration and development in Queensland. It plans to use existing legislative powers to place a condition on the tenure, preventing the operator from exporting the gas. Minister Lynham said the State Government was piloting the exploration project to see what could be achieved and how the market reacted. It would have no impact on existing gas producers or contracts in Queensland's $70 billion LNG industry.
The prospective pilot area will cover approximately 58 square kilometres of land in the Surat Basin. The exact location of the pilot will be released in February 2017 through the standard call for tenders on the Queensland Government's Business and Industry Portal.
The successful tenderer will need to complete environmental impact assessments and other requirements before a production tenure will be granted. This includes negotiating land access agreements with landholders and native title holders.
This latest land release by the State Government comes on top of 11,000 km2 recently awarded for gas exploration in the Cooper and Eromanga Basins, and 450 km2 in the Surat and Bowen Basins.