PUMPING GAS: Senex's Roma North gas development is one of the many gas projects that has helped the Queensland economy boom.
PUMPING GAS: Senex's Roma North gas development is one of the many gas projects that has helped the Queensland economy boom. Mark Duffus

From pipe dreams to progress in 50 years

PETER Keegan entered the gas game in 1968 and has seen first-hand just how much Roma has benefited from its natural gas fields.

This year is the 50-year anniversary of the Roma to Brisbane Pipeline, which put Queensland at the forefront of the Australian gas industry, creating thousands of jobs.

It has now grown to become a $12.8 billion industry.

With the RBP still in use, the natural gas fields contributed to the $8.2 billion added to the Queensland economy through the CSG/LNG sector last year.

In 1969 the pipeline was opened by then premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen, and from there Big Rig chief historian Peter Keegan said Roma would see "a hell of a lot of benefits”.

"To obtain gas you have to drill by punching a hole down and in those early days all the rigs were substantially manned by locals,” Mr Keegan said.

"A lot of the locals were involved in the drilling of water from the Great Artesian Basin and then naturally moved over to gas creating plenty of employment.

"Slowly more companies started to roll into Roma, building pipelines through to Wallumbilla where the RBP started, which has become very important to Roma commerce.”

However, with the boom over jobs have become more scarce but the Queensland Gas Fields Commission assures the outlook for the future of gas in the sunshine state remains positive.

"According to the Queensland Treasury, royalty contributions from the petroleum and gas sector are projected to rise significantly over the next four years, reaching a high of $495 million in 2020/21,” QGFC spokesman said.

Mr Keegan agreed and said Roma and surrounds would always remain a heartland for the gas industry.

"In terms of jobs and growth, if you drive along Mitchell Road, you'll be aware of obvious industrial storage and activity which is jaded with coal seam gas industry,” Mr Keegan said.

"It will continue to operate there because the original foundations for exploration and production work still exist in Roma and surrounds.

"Even though the exploration may be happening 200km out of town the roads are so good its natural that the storage will remain in Roma.”

Booming gas facts since 1900

. ROMA'S first natural gas field was discovered by accident in 1900, rising from a well being drilled for water.

. The total business income for the Roma postcode more than tripled from the 2010-11 to the 2012-2013 financial year.

. Since 2013, Roma population has been increasing slowly at about 1 per cent per annum.

. In the 2017-18 financial year, the Queensland Resources Council published the CSG/LNG sector supported wages paid to full-time equivalent jobs in the Maranoa equated to $16.4 million.

. The 2017-8 total direct spending in the Maranoa was more than $183 million.