Natural gas is a critical fuel and feedstock for Australia’s manufacturing and electricity industries – and the eastern seaboard market is struggling to source sufficient volumes of gas in competition with circa 1,400 PJ of annual demand for LNG exports out of Gladstone.
On the supply side, limitations to onshore exploration and development activities in Victoria and New South Wales have hampered efforts to increase gas supplies, fuelling higher prices and resulting in a shift towards exploration for new gas resources in previously unexplored regions in Northern and Central Australia.
With the commencement of operation of Jemena’s Northern Gas Pipeline (NGP) in January 2019, Central’s gas production, development capacity and exploration potential is now linked to this lucrative east coast market. To take advantage of this increased market access, capacity at both the Mereenie and Palm Valley fields has been expanded and exploration activity is increasing to secure additional reserves for supply to gas consumers.
Central is also pushing ahead towards a final investment decision on the Range Gas Project (target early 2023), a development-ready coal seam gas project located in the heart of Queensland’s prolific Surat Basin. Central and joint venturer, Incitec Pivot are aiming to develop this gas field to supply first gas by 2025.
The Australian energy market is in a state of transformation from traditional coal-fired electricity generation to renewable sources. Natural gas provides an ideal transitional fuel, being cleaner than coal, more reliable than renewables and able to respond relatively quickly to fluctuating network supply and demand.
Central Petroleum, through its existing production base, new development projects and enormous exploration potential is well-positioned to play an increasing role in Australia’s energy future.