OIL and gas company Senex Energy has signalled it will invest up to $55 million into its projects in the Surat Basin, as part of its capital investment program for the coming financial year.
CEO Ian Davies revealed the company's latest financial outlook to shareholders this morning, saying Senex planned to expand its Western Surat gas project in and around Roma to bolster Australia's flagging domestic market.
On top of a 65 per cent increase in the company's top-tier reserves in 2017 (to 81 petajoules), Mr Davies said the company was well-placed to tackle the "volatile" international oil market.
"When oil prices dived in late 2014, Senex sharpened its focus on east coast gas because we recognised the market opportunity created by Queensland's LNG exporters and domestic energy users," he said.
"Senex is entering the 2018 financial year in a strong position having made significant progress against our strategy.
"Our 2018 investment program is designed to deliver low-risk returns from the oil business while advancing Senex's gas projects, especially the Western Surat Gas Project in Queensland, which is on track to ramp up production next year.
"We remain very focused on leveraging our competitive advantage (and) we made great strides to develop gas projects that had the potential to provide incremental gas into the domestic market."
Senex concluded the 2017 financial year with cash of $135 million, 32 per cent higher than the previous year, following a successful share placement in February 2017 to institutions and retail shareholders, as well as a strategic relationship formed with leading investor EIG Global Energy Partners.
Each well in the Western Surat Gas project will cost $1.2 million to install or develop, but Mr Davies said Senex hoped to reduce that to just $1 million in the coming years.
He also said community engagement would be a focus over the next 12 months.
"Over the course of the year, we engaged in a number of local businesses and operators in the Surat Basin," he said.
"We continue to build our relationships with communities and landholders in the Western Surat Gas project."
Senex's first year in the Maranoa region also saw no major incidents or injuries.