The Giles Government has granted Major Project Status to the proposed gas pipeline linking the Territory and East Coast gas grids and announced that it has begun the process of finding investors for the project.
“The construction of this gas pipeline is an infrastructure project of national significance. It’s also a matter of urgency for the eastern states which are fast approaching an energy security crisis,” Chief Minister Adam Giles said.
“We have the gas and they have the demand but there is currently no economically viable way to get the gas from Northern Australia to the eastern market.”
The announcement for a formal search for investors comes after the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) backed the project at its last meeting on Friday, further validating its significance and potential to create a more competitive domestic gas market.
“I am pleased to announce that the Territory Government is about to start a formal process for potential investors to express their interest in building and operating the pipeline,” Mr Giles said.
“With an East Coast gas crisis shortage looming, we need the pipeline to be operational by 2018. There is no time to waste and the granting of Major Project Status to the pipeline will help speed up this process.”
He said an industry meeting will be held in Alice Springs on 31 October to explain the project to potential investors, gas and infrastructure companies, as well as other industry figures interested in being part of this nationally important project.
“In a sign of the national significance of this project, Federal Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane has agreed to join this industry briefing. I am excited about the jobs and exploration the pipeline could stimulate in the Northern Territory,” Mr Giles said.
“I will do everything I can to bring the pipeline to reality in partnership with the gas industry, Federal and state governments. I know this is a project of particular interest to New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia and I look forward to working with them on this development.”
Two routes have been proposed for the gas pipeline – one from Tennant Creek to Mt Isa in Queensland and the other from Alice Springs to Moomba in South Australia.
According to the media release by the Northern Territory Government, formal Expressions of Interest will open at the end of November.