APA Group and Santos Ltd. have abandoned plans to construct the Western Slopes pipeline project to carry gas from Santos’s proposed Narrabri coal seam gas project in northern New South Wales to the Australian domestic grid.
The mutual agreement was made following Santos’ August acquisition of Hunter Gas Pipeline Pty Ltd., a company that owns an approved route for a buried gas pipeline from Wallumbilla in southeast Queensland to Newcastle on the central New South Wales coast (OGJ Online, Aug. 11, 2022). The route passes close to the Narrabri project.
APA has informed landholders along the route of the proposed 460-km Western Slopes Pipeline of the decision.
Santos’ alternative, the proposed 820-km Hunter Gas Pipeline (HGP), is a longer distance, but will create a second north-south link by connecting the Wallumbilla hub near Roma in Queensland with Newcastle and further south to Sydney, Santos said.
Narrabri gas, which is 100% committed to the domestic market, would be connected via a short connection to the main line. There also will be offtake points along HGP at regional towns to provide gas supply to power generators, manufacturers, businesses, and households in the Hunter region.
HGP has planning approval. Construction is expected to begin early in 2024.
The addition of Narrabri to the domestic grid will enable more gas to be made available to cover peak demand periods, especially when gas power generators are called on unexpectedly, Santos said.
Appraisal drilling at Narrabri is planned for later this year, pending native title and environmental management plan approvals.
Once fully operational, Narrabri could deliver more than half of New South Wales’ gas demand.