Hundreds of gas field jobs created
HUNDREDS of jobs have been created in the state's gas industry this year as supply to the energy-hungry domestic market is ramped up.
Brisbane-based gas producer Senex Energy says it has created about 250 jobs in construction so far this year as it invests more than $200 million building its Surat Basin project targeting soaring gas prices on the eastern seaboard.
State Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham last week announced that 30,000 square kilometres of new land across Queensland had been earmarked for gas exploration including more than 30 percent for domestic supply.
Queensland supplies about quarter of the east coast gas market, with plans to boost that over the next decade. Earlier this year, the State Government approved the $10 billion Arrow Energy Surat Basin gas project, which is expected to create up to 1000 jobs.
Senex said it had given priority to local companies in developing its Surat project. Condamine-based T&W Earthmoving has won a multi-million contact from Senex to build well pads and roads for its Project Atlas and Roma North. Project Atlas is the first gas deposit in Australia designated exclusively for the domestic market.
Senex said T&W, which operates out of Condamine and Roma, was awarded the contract after a competitive tender that considered price, safety and environmental performance, experience and understanding of the local area.
The company, which has more than 30 employees, has previously performed civil works for Senex's Western Surat Gas Project, of which Roma North is part.
T&W director Tim Collie, who owns the business with brother Wayne, said the contract provided security to his business, which started as a two-man operation 15 years ago.
Separately, Roma business Huracan is supplying and installing gauges in natural gas wells across the Surat Basin after signing a $1 million agreement with Senex.
Instruments provided by Huracan will measure indicators of well performance that help Senex to produce gas as efficiently as possible.
Other ancillary businesses across the region also are seeing the benefits of increasing gas investment. Roma Overlander Homestead Motel manager Charles Weyman-Jones said he had put on two extra cleaners this year to cope with a 40 per cent increase in occupancy due to increasing gas development in the region.
"All the gas companies, both big and small, are drilling like crazy," said Mr Weyman-Jones, who has operated the 34-room motel with his wife for the past six years. "We have seen highs and lows but the exciting part is that the sector is now moving into the maintenance phase which will be a long term economic benefit."
Senex started a 110-well drilling program on its Roma North and Project Atlas natural gas developments, near Roma and Wandoan, in June. The first 10 wells on Roma North have been drilled, with Huracan's equipment installed at the bottom of the wells.
The other main components of the Roma North development - a gas processing facility and 5km pipeline - have been completed and are in operation.
Senex managing director Ian Davies said Senex was committed to source goods and services locally wherever possible.
"Senex is delighted to be working with a regional Queensland business that employs local people and uses local suppliers," Mr Davies said.