NEARLY 400sq km of the Surat Basin region has been opened up for gas development by the Queensland Government to mitigate the massive supply shortfall in the east coast market.
Natural Resources and Mines Minister Anthony Lynham said the two parcels of land, which have not been made public by the government yet, would only be used for domestic gas supply.
"This initiative shows again that Queensland is ahead of the pack on gas supply policy action," Dr Lynham said.
"We had a positive response from industry to the first pilot release of land in February and it's clear there's an appetite in the market to develop Queensland's gas reserves.
"Releasing more land will drive employment and investment in regional Queensland and eventually add to the gas currently available for domestic use."
Dr Lynham made the announcement at the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association's annual convention in Perth yesterday where the biggest names in the resource sector converged.
Successful tenders will be required to complete environmental and other requirements before any land tenure can be granted, including negotiating land access agreements with landowners and native title parties.
The news comes in the wake of the Federal Government's plan to restrict the exporting of gas from Australia to shore up the domestic market.
The new land had been flagged by Queensland Resources Council CEO Ian Macfarlane, who said the spot market for gas needed to stabilise.
"People buy gas two ways - they either take long-term contracts, or if they get short of gas they've got to go to the spot market," he told The Chronicle in April.
"The spot market is not a reflection on the global price (and) the spot price is higher here than it is in Japan.
"We've got to solve the short-term problem, to keep it under $10/gigajoules.
"It's also the industry goal, because we want to put stability back into the market."