A major new gas project in northern New South Wales will be accelerated as part of a state government plan to boost gas supply.
It comes with a likely agreement in the national cabinet this afternoon to cut electricity supplier costs in the hope of lowering household energy bills.
The decision will fast-track the controversial Narrabri gas field pipeline, so it can deliver gas to the downstate and possibly Victoria despite strong objections from environmental groups who want the gas to stay in the ground and that the pipeline is scrapped.
“A proposal to construct a new gas pipeline between the approved Narrabri Gas Project and the Hunter Gas Pipeline has been declared Critically Significant Infrastructure (CSSI) as it is deemed essential to NSW for economic reasons,” the official said. NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet in a statement. .
The pipeline is expected to run approximately 50 kilometers and would connect the Narrabri Gas Project to the East Coast Gas Network, which runs from Bass Strait and South Australia to NSW and to Curtis Island in Queensland, where three facilities freeze gas for export by tanker.
“The Narrabri project will be key to ensuring affordable and reliable gas to over a million NSW homes and thousands of small businesses, who rely on natural gas for heating, cooking and power generation,” said said Perrottet.
“Once operational, Narrabri will be the backbone of our state’s gas needs, supporting our transition to renewable energy sources.”
NSW Planning and Housing Minister Anthony Roberts said the project would involve around $1.5 billion in expenditure and create 1,750 jobs during construction, including 225 operational jobs.
Santos has sought to develop the gas field for more than a decade but faces strong objections from environmental groups. The company has promised to deliver all the gas to the local market, a major concern for NSW, and estimates that it would supply around 70 petajoules of gas per year.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has backed the project even though the Labor Environment Action Network, a group within the party, opposes the development of the gas field as it believes local communities do not want it and Australia should move away from gas towards electricity produced by renewable energies. .
The government said Santos could request assessment requirements to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIA). This should be subject to community consultation.