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 underground pipeline route passes close to Santos’ Narrabri Gas Project. Conditions of approval for the Project state that construction activities for production wells and related infrastructure cannot commence until a pipeline is approved, and Santos can’t start gas production until a pipeline is commissioned.
Santos had previously preferred APA’s Western Slopes Pipeline but local opposition made it impossible for contractors to carry out a survey of the route.
Along the Hunter Gas Pipeline proposed route, farmers and communities have also formed grassroots groups to prevent its construction.
Mullaley Gas and Pipeline Accord spokesperson and beef farmer Margaret Fleck said, “It is totally inappropriate and downright dangerous for any company to build a high pressure gas pipeline through the vertosol soils of the Liverpool Plains. These soils crack and swell, and they also happen to be some of the best soils for food and fibre production in the state.”
A short connection from Narrabri to the main pipeline is in the planning phase and needs government approval.
Santos has plans for appraisal drilling later this year, pending various native title and environmental management plan approvals.
Subject to receiving remaining government approvals, Santos expects construction of the pipeline to commence in early 2024 but opposition will be huge. Santos says the pipeline will also be designed to transport hydrogen.