Alice Springs-Moomba gas pipeline given the go-ahead

nt pipe line map

A planned natural gas pipeline from Alice Springs to Moomba is officially going ahead after being granted ‘major project’ status by Northern Territory Chief Minister Adam Giles.

Giles made the announcement last month at the Australia-Japan Joint Business Conference in Darwin, stating the 1,000km pipeline would avert a potential gas shortage across eastern Australia, creating jobs and economic opportunities in the Northern Territory.

The project, estimated to cost $1 billion, has Federal support, but the government has ruled out using taxpayer money to fund it. Giles is looking for ‘expressions of interest’ from the private sector to help fund it. And he’s keen to get the ball rolling, stating the pipeline needs to be operational by 2018 in order to avert an East Coast gas crisis shortage.

Giles painted the reasons for the pipeline in simple terms: “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 news has been welcomed by Australian manufacturers, concerned by plans for Australia to become one of the world’s top gas exporters, even as local gas supplies are squeezed. Manufacturing Australia recently put the potential cost of export ambitions at 100,000 jobs – if no compensatory action was taken.

But the project is not without its controversy. Earlier this year, SA Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis accused the Federal Government of supporting the pipeline in response to protest against Coal Seam Gas (CSG). Koutsantonis is in favour of greater shale gas exploration instead. As he put it: “The reality is, there’s gas in the ground close to markets.”

Whatever the outcome, the pipeline would certainly be good for jobs in the construction and gas sectors. And if Australia is serious about becoming a foremost exporter of natural gas, we must do something to ensure our own supply.

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One Response to Alice Springs-Moomba gas pipeline given the go-ahead

  1. Trev says:

    Would love to be on that one

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