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Bowen Basin pipeline study

The Queensland Government’s economic recovery strategy from COVID-19 continues to build on traditional strengths, like the state’s resources industry and investing in future infrastructure.

Building vital infrastructure helps create jobs in construction and stimulate growth in Queensland’s regional economies. It also ensures new supplies of gas are available into the future. These supplies will assist in driving down gas prices and support new industry.

Both the Queensland Government and Australian Government have each committed to contributing $5 million towards a Bowen Basin pipeline study, with a combined total investment of $10 million which will occur in multiple phases. The first phase was a concept study of key initiatives that merit further detailed investigation.

First phase is complete

As part of the recovery plan for Queensland, the first phase of the Bowen Basin pipeline study commenced in June 2021.

The concept study investigates the potential for infrastructure, including a gas pipeline to connect gas reserves in the Bowen Basin to the east coast domestic market and overseas customers.

As well as analysing gas prospects and sources of fugitive emissions in the area, the concept study looked at how we can potentially capture methane emissions from coal mines in the Bowen Basin and put them to use in areas such as power generation and manufacturing.

The final report (PDF, 13.9MB) for the concept study has now been completed. The report confirmed there is a need for securing additional gas to supplement demand, and while other prospective basins exist, the Bowen Basin has significant potential to provide gas to market if the appropriate infrastructure is put in place. There is also opportunity to capture methane emissions from coal mines in the Bowen Basin to supplement gas supply and reduce the state’s emissions.

Phase two – market engagement

The Department of Resources considered the findings of the phase one concept study and determined the most appropriate next step for the project was a structured market engagement process.

The aim of the market engagement was to build on the information obtained in the concept study to gain a detailed understanding of the commerciality of a pipeline from the market’s perspective.

The Department engaged KPMG (in partnership with GHD, ACIL Allen, and Netherland, Sewell & Associates Inc) to undertake this important body of work.

The phase two market engagement was completed in December 2022 and a summary of the findings has been prepared.

The summary report (PDF, 9.2MB) found there is market interest in Bowen Basin gas, but timing is important to support investor confidence and meet the needs of the east coast domestic market. A staged pipeline delivery, starting with the prospective southern region of the Bowen Basin, could accelerate development.

The summary report also found that the coal mine methane is not suitable to underpin the development of a Bowen Basin gas pipeline itself, but there are strategies to improve the use of these emissions.

The Department is considering the findings of phase two, including the next steps.

Benefits of a new gas pipeline

Gas is a critical energy source for Queensland’s manufacturing sector. A more affordable gas supply will support jobs in our supply chain and industries as well as providing gas to firm electricity supplies, allowing the integration of greater volumes of renewable electricity.

The Bowen Basin, which has traditionally focused on coal production, has the potential to bring more gas to Queensland’s domestic and export markets – by opening up areas for new gas production and potentially capturing unutilised gas from coal mines.

Increasing supply to the east coast will not only mean more affordable gas for domestic customers but will provide more royalties for Queensland and jobs for Queenslanders.

A gas pipeline connecting the Bowen Basin can potentially reduce fugitive gas emissions from the resources industry, contributing towards Queensland’s transition to a low-carbon economy.

If you have any issues accessing the final report, email BBCSreport@resources.qld.gov.au.

Last updated
07 August 2023
Last reviewed
21 February 2023