Queensland Hunter Gas Pipeline
|This article is part of the Global Fossil Infrastructure Tracker, a project of Global Energy Monitor.|
The Queensland Hunter Gas Pipeline is a proposed natural gas pipeline.
The proposed pipeline would run from the Wallumbilla gas hub in Queensland to the Narrabri Gas Project in New South Wales, through Gunnedah, Quirindi, Scone, Muswellbrook, Singleton and Maitland to Newcastle, New South Wales.
- Operator: Jemena
- Parent company: Hunter Gas Pipeline
- Capacity: 426.52 million cubic feet per day / 450 terajoules per day
- Length: 820 kilometers
- Cost: AU$1.2 billion / US$870 million
- Status: Proposed
- Start year: 2023
The pipeline would be owned by Hunter Gas Pipeline and would be built in two phases. Phase one would connect the proposed Narrabi coal seam gas (CSG) project to Hunter's gas storage facility in Newcastle, New South Wales. Phase two would connect the Narrabi CSG Project with the Wallumbilla gas hub in Queensland. In May 2017, Hunter Gas signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to build phase one of the pipeline at a cost of AU$500 million, and operate it. Construction of phase one was approved in 2009 by the New South Wales government but will not begin until the government approves the Narrabi CSG Project, according to the pipeline's project director, Garbis Simonian of Hunter Gas Pipeline. This approval gave Hunter Gas Pipeline consent to build the project until February 2014, provided that substantial construction had begun by February 11, 2019.
In December 2018, after ten years in which construction had not begun, and facing heavy opposition to the Narrabri Gas Project, Simonian applied to have the agreement to build the pipeline extended for another five years. In March 2019, Planning Minister Anthony Roberts retroactively extended the approval process for the pipeline for one year despite consent for the pipeline officially lapsing 17 days earlier.
In October 2019, the pipeline was approved by the New South Wales government. Hunter Gas Pipeline Managing Director Garbis Simonian said the company hopes to bring the pipeline online by the end of 2022.
In August 2020, the pipeline promoters were touting the prospects of the project receiving Australian federal government support as well as financing from equity investors and commercial banks. Australia's National COVID-19 Co-ordination Commission had in August recommended that the Australian government underwrite major new gas pipelines and other infrastructure to help underpin an economic recovery from the pandemic. Quirindi farmer Peter Wills, one of many landholders who could be impacted if the pipeline proceeds, expressed alarm about the project potentially receiving federal government backing: "A deal favouring the Hunter Gas Pipeline and burning public money on building it would be a betrayal of rural constituents across its 800 kilometre route. There will be an angry backlash if the National Party allows this to happen. Politicians should not be giving privileged access to companies that want to industrialise farming districts." The promoters also referred to discussions with unnamed equity investors and two major banks who could provide financing for the pipeline through equity and debt. The project's timeline seemed slightly delayed, as financial close for the project was aimed for mid-2021, along with construction starting mid-2022 and commissioning of the pipeline in the second half of 2023.
In July 2021, amid a surge in Australian gas prices, Garbis Simonian complained about the lack of federal support for the Hunter Gas Pipeline to date: "We have gone to the government to underwrite it, they just keep kicking the ball down the road."
In June 2020, a community meeting for landowners affected by the project was held by Hunter Gas and the Liverpool Plains Shire Council. Attendees said the meeting "raised more questions than it answered" and that gas company representatives failed to address concerns about erosion, black soil, and impacts on local water supplies.
In July 2020, at a hearing of the Independent Planning Commission on the proposed Narrabi CSG Project in which opponents described an "industrial wasteland" and "widespread and inevitable destruction of agriculture across the north west" if the project goes ahead, regional landholders opposed to the proposed Queensland Hunter Gas Pipeline also presented on how the pipeline, a possible conduit for Narrabri gas, would damage farming operations and the environment.
Articles and resources
- Pipeline supports for CSG hubs, The Australian Pipeliner, Mar. 16, 2016, accessed Aug. 10, 2021.
- [https://www.aemo.com.au/-/media/Files/Gas/National_Planning_and_Forecasting/GSOO/2018/2018-Gas-Statement-Of-Opportunities.pdf AEMO 2018 Gas Statement of Opportunities], AEMO, June 2018, accessed Aug. 10, 2021.
- Narrabri Gas Project opposition flag water, environment, health worries, Narrabri Courier, Jul. 23, 2020, accessed Aug. 10, 2021.
- Angela Macdonald-Smith, Hunter Gas Pipeline angles for government backing, The Australian Financial Review, Aug. 31, 2020, accessed Aug. 10, 2021.
- Hunter Gas Pipeline Project, Hunter Gas Pipeline, accessed Aug. 10, 2021.
- Queensland Hunter Gas Pipeline joins with Jemena for stage one for Santos Narrabri approval, The Maitland Mercury, May 4, 2017
- Gas pipeline backer Garbis Simonian says his $1 billion-plus plan is "insurance" for NSW gas users, New Castle Herald, Dec. 26, 2018, accessed Aug. 10, 2021.
- 'Disappointing': Last-minute pipeline, land-clearing changes rile foes, Sydney Morning Herald, Mar. 7, 2019, accessed Aug. 10, 2021.
- Hunter pipeline to slash costs of Queensland gas transport, Australian Financial Review, Oct. 23, 2019, accessed Aug. 10, 2021.
- Billy Jupp, Quirindi farmers slam Hunter Gas' push for federal government backing for Queensland Hunter Gas Pipeline, Moree Champion, Sep. 2, 2020, accessed Aug. 10, 2021.
- Nick Toscano and Mike Foley, Surging gas prices raise alarm, threaten PM’s gas-fired recovery hopes, The Sydney Morning Herald, Jul. 9, 2021, accessed. Aug. 10, 2021.
- Billy Jupp, Farmers claim Hunter-Queensland Gas Pipeline Project meeting raises more questions than answers, Hunter Valley News, Jun. 30, 2020, accessed Aug. 10, 2021.