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

Summary of the plan

The North Bowen and Galilee basins in Queensland contain significant untapped gas resources. Modelling has revealed gas production in the region could be worth up to $2.5 billion each year[1], and deliver up to 5,500 jobs by 2030.

Despite this significant potential, a range of factors have hindered the development to date. Geological conditions of the North Bowen and Galilee are challenging and require more testing of cutting edge drilling techniques to lower production costs. Gas papeline infrastructure in the region is insufficient to support development at an economically viable scale. Upgrades are dependent on proven resources and agreed gas purchase contracts.

To address these challenges, the Australian Government will:

  • Deliver $15.7 million investment in gas field well trials to pilot innovative drilling programs across the basins. These have the potential to significantly bring down production costs and shift commercial viability.
  • Co-invest with the Queensland Government in a study of the feasibility of a new pipeline to link the North Bowen Basin to the east coast gas market.
  • Build an evidence base through enhanced geological and environmental data collection and analysis to support robust, efficient and risk-based regulatory outcomes.

These activities will strengthen understanding of development pathways in the basins and represent the first step in a longer term strategy. The outcomes from this first step will inform subsequent Australian Government infrastructure, planning and regulatory decisions in the region.

Beyond gas, the basins contain other valuable commodities, such as coal, gold and critical minerals. The basins also have potential to support the development of our emerging hydrogen industry. In many instances, the approach established in this plan will help to take advantage of these broader opportunities. Increased production of all resources in the region could generate a further 11,400 direct jobs and billions of dollars of national income annually.

This plan recognises the national significance of opportunities in the region: more jobs, more affordable energy, and opportunities to grow new industries. These opportunities can only be realised through effective partnerships between all parties involved in development. To this end, the Australian Government is establishing new partnerships with the Queensland Government, industry, academia and local communities. This will enhance coordination and better align activities across parties.

Vision

Creating jobs and driving economic growth by unlocking the full potential of the North Bowen and Galilee basins.

Immediate actions: cracking the nut

Costs of delivery to market is a key sensitivity for the prospects of developing the basins. Immediate actions seek to bring down production costs and identify commercially viable pathways to market for gas.

Action item Description Timing
Gas well trials $15.7 million to crack complex geological challenges and establish cost-effective gas flows across four sites within the basins 2021 to 2022
Pipeline preparations

$5 million co-commitment with the Queensland Government to:

  • establish an optimal route and capacity for a possible future gas pipeline
  • understand the regional benefits of this work.
2021 to 2023
Regulatory data

Collect environmental and other regulatory and scientific data through:

  • $14 million for Geoscience Australia and the CSIRO to establish environmental evidence to support regulatory processes across strategic basins, including the North Bowen and Galilee.
  • $13.7 million to continue the CSIRO’s GISERA research in these basins and across Australia.
2021 to 2024
Supply chain upgrades The government will deliver over $370 million in funding for road upgrades throughout the region. This will support supply chains, trade and project construction across multiple industry sectors 2021 onwards

Next steps: driving to development

Informed by robust data from early actions, industry and government can pursue new infrastructure, with a continued focus on delivering efficient outcomes and reducing costs. Actions will be taken to realise the benefits associated with development, including increasing jobs in local communities and expanding industrial opportunities in the region.

Focus area Description Timing
Infrastructure The Australian and Queensland Governments will consider the outcomes from gas well trials and pipeline preparations. Outcomes will support the Australian Government’s ongoing work for the National Gas Infrastructure Plan. 2023 onwards
Cost reductions Gas trials have the potential to reduce production costs for producers in the region. Commonwealth regulators will prioritise regulatory applications to reduce costs that may otherwise cause lengthy delays. 2022 onwards
Skills Strengthened training and education opportunities ensure workers in the region have the skills to support gas projects. This includes learning at the $30 million School of Mining and Manufacturing under construction at the Central Queensland University 2024 onwards
Industrial opportunities Gas from the region will help to unlock downstream and manufacturing opportunities in central and northern Queensland. Governments will work cooperatively to realise these opportunities. 2024 onwards

Map of North Bowen and Galilee Basins

A map of Queensland showing the North Bowen and Galilee basins, as well as cities and neighbouring towns. The map features major infrastructure including highways, railways and natural gas pipelines.

  1. Assuming a gas price of $6 per gigajoule in the ‘high case'.