This page belongs to: North Bowen and Galilee Strategic Basin Plan

The North Bowen and Galilee basins

The North Bowen and Galilee basins are located in central Queensland. This strategic basin plan concentrates on a defined area. It encompasses Townsville to the north, Mackay to the east, Emerald to the south and Longreach to the west. While the Galilee Basin extends beyond this defined area, the selected region captures the primary gas industry operations in the basin to date. Together, the North Bowen and Galilee basins cover an area larger than New Zealand.

While considered concurrently through this plan, the basins and the communities they host hold important differences. The North Bowen Basin is an established mining region, with commercial activities focused on metallurgical coal and coal seam gas. The Galilee has a number of emerging thermal coal projects, including the Carmichael Mine, which is approaching first coal deliveries, and only early stage gas exploration is underway. North Bowen has larger population centres and higher average per capita incomes than the Galilee. The unifying factor for the two basins is the significant underdeveloped potential for gas and other resources.

North Bowen Basin

The North Bowen Basin is located in central Queensland, predominantly within the Isaac local government area. It covers roughly 72,000 km2, an area larger than Tasmania.

The area is already home to mining, mostly of metallurgical coal used for steelmaking. As a result, the high-paying mining sector employs the majority of workers in the Isaac Region. These coal resources also contain significant coal seam gas reserves (Table 1).

While there is a small amount of existing gas development, the basin’s potential largely remains untapped.

Table 1: Key commodities in the North Bowen

Reserves show proven commodities; resources show the possible quantum of commodities. The planned production for hydrogen and renewable electricity reflects the capacity of all projects at any stage of the development pipeline

  Gas (PJ) Met. Coal (Mt) Therm. Coal (Mt) Hydrogen (kt)
Current production p.a. 9 101 29 0
Reserves 550 3800 284 2100 planned
Resources 3880 to 9510 13,900 2470 -

Galilee Basin

The Galilee Basin forms part of the Lake Eyre Basin, a drainage basin that covers around one sixth of Australia. The Galilee covers a total area of approximately 247,000 km2, an area larger than Victoria. It is located about 200 km west of the Bowen Basin. The Galilee extends north to Hughenden, south to Charleville and west beyond Winton and Middleton.

The Galilee is an undeveloped basin with great potential. Industry is currently exploring for gas reserves in the basin, with activities concentrated in the centre of the basin, within the Barcaldine Shire. The basin also hosts a number of large greenfield thermal coal projects in various stages of development (Table 2).

Table 2: Key commodities in the Galilee

Reserves show the proven quantum of commodities. Resources show the possible quantum of commodities.

  Gas (PJ) Met. Coal (Mt) Therm. Coal (Mt) Hydrogen (kt)
Current production p.a. 0 0 0 0
Reserves 0 0 2000 0
Resources 7601 0 31,000 -

Map of North Bowen and Galilee basins

A map showing a close view of the North Bowen and Galilee. This includes smaller towns like Clermont and Aramac that were absent from the state-wide map. The North Bowen shows widespread mining operations and 346 gas wells. The undeveloped Galilee shows no mining and only a single gas well. The map shows additional infrastructure, such as smaller roads, airports and seaports. University campuses and TAFEs are predominately along the coast, with two inland closer to the Bowen basin.