The $800 million gas pipeline from Tennant Creek to Mount Isa has moved closer to reality after the first sod turn was turned at the ceremony in the Territory on Wednesday.
Dignitaries including politicians and Jemena bosses gathered at the ceremony at Phillip Creek 40km from Tennant Creek where the western end compressor station of the Northern Gas Pipeline will be built (a second station will be required at the Mount Isa end).
Jemena managing director Paul Adams said the sod-turning was a key milestone for the 622km NGP which would play a crucial role in helping to resolve the gas supply crisis in eastern Australia with 75 per cent of the gas demand in the north.
“The NGP is a boon for businesses in the north that rely on gas as a feedstock or a fuel source as it provides them access to new gas at a cheaper price compared to transported gas from the Moomba Gas Hub (in central Australia),” Mr Adams said.
“Once delivered the NGP will deliver 90 terrajoules of gas each day.”
Mr Adams said Incitec Pivot was one of the northern customers that have signed contracts to take gas from the NGP and there was a longer term goal to connect with export markets.
“We have already commenced investigative work to expand the NGP south from Mount Isa into the Wallumbilla Gas Hub to further integrate Territory gas into the east coast grid,” he said.
Northern Territory chief minister Michael Gunner called the pipeline a nation-building exercise.
“Today is a key milestone for Jemena’s pipeline – it’s an important day for a project that will deliver significant economic benefits to the Territory, Queensland and Australia,” Mr Gunner said.
Member for Mount Isa Robbie Katter hailed the 900 jobs to be created by the project and said many of those would be in Mount Isa employing indigenous people.
Jemena has engaged McConnell Dowell to construct the 481km section of the pipeline across the Territory and into part of Queensland while Spiecapag Australia will construct 170km at the Mount Isa end.
Half of the Territory section of pipeline and most of the Queensland section of pipeline will be constructed this year, with the remaining pipeline to be constructed in 2018.
All 300,000 lengths of the pipeline have now been delivered to Tennant Creek ready to be laid.
First gas is expected to flow in late 2018.