Surat Basin to Gladstone

Surat Basin to Gladstone

Lenz Moreton joined the Gladstone Engineering Alliance [“GEA”] and the Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise [“TSBE”] last year. This was a strategic decision for us to offer our legal services to participants involved in, and providing services to, the Coal Seam Gas (“CSG”) industry from Roma through to Gladstone, as well as the Surat Basin rail line, Gladstone harbour construction and dredging activities.

Although the CSG source area on the Western Downs is called the “Surat Basin”, with Surat lying approximately 75 km south of Roma, Roma appears to be an administrative centre for CSG activities, for the Western Downs at least. However, Chinchilla, Dalby and Wandoan are also the bases for significant areas of activity. New underground pipelines connecting areas closest to these towns will carry the CSG, now called “natural gas” from field compression stations to central processing plants and on to the LNG plants at Gladstone.

It is not only CSG activity in the Surat Basin, but activities also include the development of new mines, and the mining and transport of coal by rail from the Surat Basin to Gladstone. Parliament passed the Surat Basin Rail (Infrastructure Development and Management) Bill 2012, yet to be proclaimed, which allows for the private sector to construct a 214 km railway from Wandoan to Banana. This line will then join the Wiggins Island export terminal rail line through to Curtis Island off Gladstone.

Gladstone is therefore a hive of activity with the construction of 3 Liquefied Natural Gas (the “LNG”) plants, the Wiggins Island Coal Terminal as well as dredging of the harbour, and long-standing locals are saying it is a “boom town” again. The LNG plants are being built by different consortia: Australia Pacific LNG by Origin, Conoco Phillips and Sinopec; Gladstone Liquefied Natural Gas by Santos, Petronas, Total and Kogas; and the Queensland Curtis LNG project by QGC.

Having driven to both Roma and Gladstone and visited both centres on two occasions, our principal Chris Lenz was amazed at the poor quality of roads in certain sections. “Both these centres are generators of significant economic activity and revenue, and yet the basic infrastructure of quality roads is sadly lacking”, he said.

“Furthermore, Gladstone which has been the centre of the significant varied industrial economic activity for decades seems to lack its fair share of quality infrastructure for such an important location”, he added. As a qualified civil engineer, he was excited at the surge in activity in the Surat Basin to Gladstone region (the “region”), which is providing significant opportunities for those living in the region, as well as Queenslanders generally.

Chris said that, “This increased activity requires the participants to understand their legal position in whatever goods and services they provide to others in the region. Lenz Moreton can help those working in the region to ensure that they get the maximum benefit from their efforts during this exciting time in Queensland. There is no point in losing the benefits of your hard earned work because you did not know the strength of your legal position, or you may have put yourself in a weak legal position because you did not understand the contract you are signing.”

Lenz Moreton will be increasing its presence in the region over the next few years, and if we can assist anyone in learning more about the opportunities in the region, or assist you with legal services, please do not hesitate to contact us.

This newsletter is provided as information only and should not be relied on as legal advice applicable to your particular situation.