Australia's Santos buys underground gas pipeline route

(UC) — Santos has acquired Hunter Gas Pipeline Pty Ltd. which owns an approved underground gas pipeline route from Wallumbilla in Queensland to Newcastle in New South Wales, the company said on Thursday.

The underground pipeline route passes close to Santos’ Narrabri Gas Project and the company said it would work with infrastructure developers and owners to build the pipeline, which Hunter Gas Pipeline has previously said would be valued at US$ 854 million.

The Hunter Gas Pipeline has planning approval for an 883-km (550-mile) pipeline from Wallumbilla gas supply hub in Queensland to New South Wales, according to Hunter's web site.

“The route of the underground pipeline was specifically chosen to ensure minimum impact on communities, landholders and the environment, but there is room to make further improvements as needed,” Brett Woods, Santos’ midstream and clean fuels president, said.

The pipeline will also be designed to transport hydrogen as customer demand evolves during the energy transition.

Woods said the acquisition provides a pathway for the delivery of gas from the Narrabri Gas Project to the domestic market, subject to a short connection to the main pipeline, which is currently in the planning phase.

“Acquiring the Hunter Gas Pipeline route is an important step for the Narrabri project, with appraisal drilling planned later this year, pending various native title and environmental management plan approvals,” Woods said. “Once fully operational, Narrabri has the potential to deliver more than half NSW’s gas demand, creating a more secure, local and affordable supply for businesses, manufacturers and families.”

This would remove occasional supply constraints in existing pipelines, which occur at exactly the times when demand for Queensland gas is highest in southern markets. With Queensland the main source of gas supply growth for the whole east coast market, this pipeline will be vital to secure southern supplies over time.

Subject to receiving remaining government approvals, construction of the pipeline is expected to commence in early 2024.


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