Pipeline builder Jemena has moved to buy a big stake in the under development Beetaloo gas fields.
Jemena, which is backed by the State Grid Corporation of China and Singapore Power, has today revealed it has signed a binding Memorandum of Understanding with Tamboran Resources Limited.
Tamboran holds 25 per cent of Santos' interests in the Beetaloo/McArthur basin.
The deal will see Jemena "expedite plans to invest over $5 billion" to increase the capacity of its Northern Gas Pipeline while also working to extend the pipeline from the Beetaloo Basin to the east coast, at Wallumbilla Gas Hub in Queensland.
Tamboran is headquartered in Sydney which claims "a significant depth of experience" in the commercialisation of unconventional oil and gas throughout North America.
Jemena's managing director, Frank Tudor, said the MOU demonstrated industry was working collaboratively to bring new gas to the east-coast to underpin long-term security of supply.
"This is an important step towards delivering on the Commonwealth Government's plans for the Beetaloo as part of a gas-led recovery from the COVID-19 Pandemic," Mr Tudor said.
"Through this partnership we hope to expedite the pace at which we can bring much needed additional gas to market, while creating around 4000 jobs - many in regional Australia.
"We hope that our partnership with Tamboran is the catalyst the market is seeking to spark the development of the Beetaloo Basin and drive Australia towards energy security, while also spurring economic development across the NT for generations.
"While our MOU with Tamboran gives us exclusivity, it also highlights the importance of collaboration and we plan to make our infrastructure available to all industry participants."
As a result of the partnership Jemena plans to progressively increase the Northern Gas Pipeline's capacity from around 90TJs of gas per day to 1000TJs through a combination of compression and looping.
The $800m pipeline stretches 622km from Mount Isa to Tennant Creek and was officially opened late in 2018.
According to the Australian Financial Review, the project would start with a pipeline to connect the Beetaloo to the Northern Gas Pipeline.
Later plans are for the Beetaloo pipeline to extend to Darwin.
The NT Government has already awarded a $327,000 contract to plan a route for a pipeline to bring onshore gas from the Beetaloo Basin to Darwin.
The Northern Gas Pipeline was originally constructed to link NT's Amadeus Gas Pipeline to Queensland's Carpentaria Gas Pipeline.
It is planned for the pipeline for connect to the company's proposed Galilee Gas Pipeline, which will span around 585km and will transport gas from Galilee Energy's Glenaras Gas Project near Longreach in the Galilee Basin to the Wallumbilla Gas Hub.
"Tamboran is focused on developing early stage, top-decile unconventional gas reserves in the NT," Tamboran's managing director and CEO Joel Riddle said.
The announcement of our partnership with Jemena represents a key building block in our efforts to bring new supplies of natural gas to energy starved eastern Australia by 2023-24.
"Successful development of the Beetaloo in coordination with Jemena's pipeline capacity expansion represents a significant opportunity to greatly enhance gas supply in Australia and we at Tamboran are excited to be a key participant in achieving this goal."
Mr Riddle said the Tamboran Board and management team had a proven track record in the commercialisation of unconventional gas fields through projects across North America and plans to leverage this experience to develop the Beetaloo.
Jemena anticipates transporting up to 200TJs of gas per day via the NGP from 2025, with transport quantities increasing as the extended and expanded pipelines are commissioned from the second half of the 2020s.
Jemena said it was also considering construction of a pipeline north from the Beetaloo into Darwin once new LNG trains or local demand centres have been sanctioned, which Jemena believes could occur in the late 2020s.
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