MORE than 150 jobs will be created in the Surat Basin after Senex Energy announced its plan to strengthen the struggling domestic gas market.
The emerging coal seam gas producer, which already has major projects in south-west Queensland, beat a competitive field to win a State Government contract to develop domestic gas on a 58sq km parcel of land outside Miles.
CEO Ian Davies said the company would invest $200 million towards its construction and operation, with 100 wells likely to produce the equivalent of two million barrels of oil a year.
"We expected to have first gas in 2019, which is lightning fast for a green gas field - we'll make a good quality return," he said.
"It's an important block for us and we're focused on getting the gas into the market.
"The estimated shortfall of available gas is between 100-150 terajoules per day on the east coast.
"This project would represent about 20% (30 terajoules) of that estimated shortfall."
Mr Davies said Senex, which announced a $135 million surplus in June, was in a position for further investment thanks to its disciplined budgeting following the downturn in the oil and gas sector.
The announcement was hailed by Queensland Resources Council CEO Ian Macfarlane as a sign of the state's role as a leading gas producer.
"Once again Queensland is leading the way in securing Australia's energy position by taking a proactive approach to energy prices by increasing supply with an Australian-only sale condition," he said.
"This announcement demonstrates Queensland is getting on with the job of opening up new gas supplies, while political interference in New South Wales and Victoria has completely stalled gas exploration."
Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise executive chairman Shane Charles also welcomed Senex's plan to hire local workers where possible.
"Senex have been operating in the region for some time now and have demonstrated that they are a fantastically capable company with a real enthusiasm to hire and buy locally whenever possible," he said.