North East gas pipeline likely to go ahead

Hayley RichmondBy Emma Brown

April 8, 2015

FOUR companies have been shortlisted for the construction of the North East Gas Interconnector; a strong indicator that the project will go ahead.

Northern Territory Chief Minister Adam Giles said the quality of the submissions was so high that he felt it ‘inevitable’ that the vital pipeline – connecting the Territory and the East Coast gas grid – would be built.

“The submissions gave us confidence that this project is seen by the private sector as being commercially viable and that the focus of government support will be around facilitating approval processes,” Mr Giles said.

A panel of experts completed a month-long assessment on nine submissions, narrowing it down to four companies: APA Group, DDG Operations, Merlin Energy Australian and SGSP Assets.

Mr Giles said the first tranches of gas for the pipeline were expected to come from existing offshore and onshore fields, giving the government time to get the regulatory environment right for an expanded industry.

“With this pipeline we can make it possible for industry to unlock the Territory’s vast offshore and onshore gas reserves today, while supporting the jobs and development of tomorrow,” he said.

“The current local industry can’t support gas exploration and development on its own without the market confidence this pipeline provides.

“Through this pipeline, the government is setting up a long term framework that grows gas supply, creates a more competitive energy market and provides access to plentiful, cheaper gas for use by local industry and domestic energy production.”

The North East Gas Interconnecter would alleviate a predicted gas shortage on the eastern seaboard.