COAL seam gas developer Santos has announced a major new investment in the Surat Basin with a $360 million expansion of its gas fields north of Roma.

Works to drill 130 new wells at the company’s Fairview project will begin in June this year and the first gas production is expected as early as October.

At peak production the expansion will produce around 78 terajoules per day, equivalent to about 25 percent of domestic demand in Queensland, a statement from Santos said.

The project will create employment for 160 drilling and construction contractors over the next two-and-a-half years and generate an additional $91.5 million in royalties for Queensland.

Santos managing director and CEO Kevin Gallagher (pictured) said the gas would feed the company’s GLNG exporting plant in Gladstone, freeing up other gas supply sources for the domestic market.

“Queensland’s coal seam gas would never have been developed without access to huge international markets and the massive capital investment of our joint venture partners and customers in Asia.

“Without that investment, there would be less gas supply in the domestic market today.

“Since the GLNG project was sanctioned a little over a decade ago, Santos and its GLNG partners have contributed nearly AU$300 million in royalties to State revenues.

“Importantly, local communities and businesses will benefit with over AU$100 million to be spent on local goods and services to support the project.

“The investment will also see an extra AU$600,000 go to the Maranoa and Banana Regional Councils for road upgrades and maintenance.”

An aerial view of Santos’s Fairview gas plant north of Roma

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