David Littlerpoud MP David Littlerpoud

$1 Billion Surat Basin Gas Project shelved

December 22, 2022

Leader of The Nationals and Maranoa MP David Littleproud and Shadow Minister for Resources Senator Susan McDonald say they are profoundly disappointed the $1 billion Atlas gas project in the Surat Basin has been halted.

Senex Energy, jointly owned by POSCO International and Hancock Energy, has announced the project is being delayed due to legislative uncertainty and the Labor government’s intervention in the gas market.

Mr Littleproud said the crucial project in his electorate was the first casualty of Labor’s war on resources and demonisation of gas.

“Senex Energy’s decision to hold off on the project is a huge blow to the region,” Mr Littleproud said.

“This decision is a serious consequence of Labor’s control over gas, for failing to back our gas industry and putting unrealistic ideology ahead of the practical reality of the need for energy.”

The project would have delivered 300 construction jobs and 70 permanent jobs in Maranoa and brought 60 petajoules to the domestic market (10 per cent of the annual east coast demand and 40 per cent of the annual Queensland demand).

Senex Energy warned of a looming gas shortage, saying no new projects meant manufacturers would have unpalatable options of spot prices from retailers unregulated by the mandatory code, or no gas at all by as soon as next year.

It said despite plenty of interest, it was impossible to sign up to new gas sales contracts due to the Labor government’s recent intervention, which imposed $12 a gigajoule cap on uncontracted gas on the east coast.

Shadow Minister for Resources Senator Susan McDonald said Labor was told about the inevitable outcomes of rushed legislation but ignored all the warnings.

“Now Australians will pay the price with higher power bills and more blackouts,” Senator McDonald said.

“The added cost is the loss of royalties, taxes and good paying jobs that restricting gas supply will cause. Companies now cannot sell their gas due to the legislative changes. This government doesn’t understand basic market principles, and we will look back and say this was when Australian prosperity died.”