Environment Minister Sussan Ley has announced that environmental approval has been given for the Narrabri Gas Project in the Gunnedah Basin, subject to a number of conditions protecting regional biodiversity, groundwater and local communities.
Santos’ Narrabri Gas Project, to be located in the Narrabri area in northwest New South Wales, is expected to generate 200 ongoing, skilled jobs during operation and around 1,300 jobs during the construction phase, as well as around $3.6 billion in capital investment.
If delivered, the project could supply NSW homes, small businesses, major industries and electricity generators with up to half the state’s natural gas needs and bring substantial economic benefits to Narrabri and the region.
Santos Managing Director and CEO Kevin Gallagher welcomed Minister Ley’s announcement, saying that the company will now will now embark on a 12-18 month appraisal program ahead of a Final Investment Decision (FID) for the next phase of project development.
“We accept the conditions from the Commonwealth, which are very much in line with our other operations across the country and welcome the approval that all relevant matters of national environmental significance have been adequately addressed,” Mr Gallagher said.
“Santos is excited about the prospect of developing the Narrabri Gas Project, a 100 per cent domestic gas project that will deliver the lowest-cost source of gas for NSW customers.
He said the company has already commenced workover activities on existing wells under its current exploration tenures and is working to get various agreements in place that are required prior to the next phase of development.
“Santos already has appraisal wells feeding the Wilga Park Power Station powering the equivalent of 32,000 households in north-west New South Wales, there are 16 Santos people and their families living and working locally and we’re buying goods and services locally with a spend last year of $2 million,” Mr Gallagher continued.
“Now all we want to do is to get on with creating jobs in New South Wales and Narrabri, and making a real difference to people’s lives in rural and regional communities.”
The announcement was also welcomed by Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt as ‘great news for the resources sector’.
“This decision paves the way for Australia to make the most of our own abundant natural resources and will provide a big boost to the local manufacturing industry,” Minister Pitt concluded.