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Huge swathes of land to be opened for resource exploration

NEW GAS: The Queensland Government has announced new land will be made available for gas development in the Surat Basin.
NEW GAS: The Queensland Government has announced new land will be made available for gas development in the Surat Basin. Queensland Gas Company

THE State Government has outlined its plans for the release of land for coal, gas and oil exploration licences over the coming year.

More than 19,000 sq km of land, the vast majority located in south west Queensland, has been flagged for gas, oil, mineral and coal exploration over the next 12 months in the Queensland Government's Annual Exploration Program 2017-18. 

Apart from one parcel of coal seam gas land 30km north of Miles, for which tenders were called in early September, the rest consists of conventional gas and oil exploration around the townships of Surat, Charleville, Tara and Quilpie.

The township of Quilpie sits in the middle of a 5266 sq km parcel of land which will be tendered for convetional gas and oil exploration purposes between October and December this year. 

The town of Quilpie itself will be excluded from the exploration area. 

Three areas located 17km north-west, 27km west and 31km south-west of Taroom will also opened up for thermal coal exploration, though the area is "unlikely to support a stand-alone operation", according to the report. 

Queensland Natural Resources and Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said the exploration licences would give Queensland a front row seat in delivering the next generation of projects and the energy needs for the future. 

"With almost 18,000 sq km for petroleum and gas exploration, this is good news for the local manufacturing and electricity consumers as more gas supply means downward pressure on energy prices," he said. 

Dr Lynham said two sets of competitive tenders would be called: for petroleum and gas and minerals in the current quarter and for coal in April-June 2018.

"Many of the petroleum and gas blocks are greenfield sites, and I encourage new and local players, as well as junior explorers to enter the Queensland market," he said. 

"The solution to gas shortages is more gas and Queensland continues to do the heavy lifting on supply and policy initiatives, like our pilot of land for the domestic market only."

Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane welcomed the release of the program, saying Queensland "is continuing to lead the way in responsibly developing the resources sector". 

"The economics of supply and demand are simple, if demand for gas is strong you need to increase supply to put downward pressure on prices. Queensland's latest exploration program includes almost 18,000 square kilometres for gas and petroleum exploration, which builds on the state's advanced gas industry," Mr Macfarlane said. 

Queensland Exploration Council (QEC) Chair Brad John said investors from around the world would be interested in these new Queensland exploration opportunities.

"There's nothing like greenfield land releases of premium coal and gas provinces and the world class North West Minerals Province to catch the attention of investors, geologists and explorers," Mr John said.

According to QRC, in 2015/16 Queensland coal, gas and metal industries contributed $55.7 billion to the state's economy, supported more than 275,000 direct and indirect jobs and paid $2.2 billion in royalties.

For more information, head here.

Topics:  coal energy energy prices gas minerals oil resources south west state government tenders toowoomba toowoomba business toowoomba development toowoomba list


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