APA Group to Establish West Oz Gas Grid
Australian gas infrastructure firm APA Group will invest up to A$460mn (US$338mn) on a 580-km pipeline in Western Australia to connect emerging gas fields in the Perth basin to the resource rich Goldfields region, forming an interconnected WA gas grid, it said on November 25. The Northern Goldfields Interconnect (NGI) is expected to be operational around the middle of 2022.
“Having developed an interconnected gas grid on the east coast that flexibly and seamlessly moves gas throughout eastern Australia, we are thrilled to now be creating one for Western Australia,” APA CEO Rob Wheals said. “By connecting existing pipelines, our investment decision to build the NGI will not only add capacity to the system but will also increase gas supply options for customers.”
Wheals expects NGI to help stimulate economic development in Western Australia and unlock investment in the Goldfields region, which is rich in gold, potash and battery minerals such as vanadium, nickel and rare earths.
The NGI will connect to APA’s Goldfields Gas Pipeline (GGP) which in turn connects to APA’s Eastern Goldfields network – creating an interconnected APA gas pipeline system covering 2,690 km from north to south and west to east. Wheals noted that over the past five years, APA had already expanded its gas pipeline system by almost 500 km of pipelines servicing the eastern Goldfields region.
NGI would deliver double the additional capacity (about 80 terajoules/day) to the Goldfields region compared with spending the same amount to expand the existing GGP. The GGP is currently fully contracted at about 202 terajoules/day, the company said, adding the NGI also provides further scope to efficiently expand capacity as required.
APA said that the NGI project offers benefits of greater basin-on-basin gas competition and supply security including access to the emerging Perth basin gas resource and the company’s gas storage and processing facility at Mondarra.
Meanwhile, APA said it is working with Mid West Pipeline joint venture partner Horizon Power to divest its 50% share in the pipeline. This will be further advanced in the coming months, it said.
The upstream lobby group Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association welcomed the final investment decision. It commented: "This new pipeline infrastructure is important as, once developed, it will help to open up new markets for gas developments in the Perth basin, WA is blessed with significant natural gas resources, and responsible development of these resources will provide lower emissions energy to the local economy and continue to form part of WA’s energy mix."