Australian LNG player Santos said its Narrabri Gas Project (NGP) has been referred by the NSW minister for planning to the Independent Planning Commission (IPC) for determination.
This is a key milestone in the independent approvals process, the company said, adding that the next step is for the NSW Department of Planning to complete its assessment report and provide the report to the IPC for its consideration.
The Minister has requested that the IPC hold public hearings and make a determination regarding the Narrabri Gas Project within 12 weeks of receiving the Department’s assessment report.
Santos managing director and CEO Kevin Gallagher noted that a decision on whether or not Narrabri can proceed is vital for Santos to determine where it will invest in new natural gas developments to supply the east coast gas market over the coming decade.
Santos is seeking approval to develop the Narrabri gas project, which has the potential to supply enough natural gas to meet up to half of NSW natural gas demand. Santos has committed 100 percent of Narrabri gas to the domestic market.
NSW imports more than 95 percent of its gas from other states and as a result, NSW businesses are at a cost disadvantage compared to their peers in other states.
Gallagher noted that if the company develops the Narrabri gas, it will be the most competitively-priced gas for NSW customers, and it will always be cheaper than LNG imports, especially when gas prices are high in Asia.
“Demand, and with it, prices, will ultimately recover, and therefore, we must continue to focus on how and when we need to develop future gas sources at the lowest possible cost of supply to increase competition,” Gallagher said.