Green light for Senex’s $1 billion investment to boost domestic gas supply

Senex Energy has today announced it is moving ahead with its more than A$1 billion expansion of its Atlas and Roma North natural gas developments in Queensland’s Surat Basin.

After more than 18 months on hold due to unprecedented Federal Government intervention in the gas market and comprehensive approvals processes, Senex has now received all major approvals to proceed, including Federal EPBC approvals.

Senex CEO Ian Davies said the EPBC approval marked a significant milestone and represented the final, major hurdle to get the full expansion underway.

“We now have the necessary investment confidence and regulatory approvals to proceed with our expansion and deliver sorely needed natural gas supply to the east coast market,” Mr Davies said.

“This announcement is especially timely given the current pressures that the east coast energy system is experiencing, particularly in southern states.

“The clear solution is more gas supply, and our announcement today is part of that solution. The Federal Government has made it clear that gas is required until 2050 and beyond, and that investment in new gas supply is needed if we are to reach net zero with thriving industries.

“Senex’s expansion will deliver 60 petajoules of natural gas each year to the east coast market from the end of 2025 which represents more than 10 per cent of annual east coast domestic gas requirements.

“The expansion will drive a significant boost in natural gas supply for Australia, demonstrating Queensland is continuing to do the heavy lifting for the east coast,” he said

Certainty for manufacturers and households

“Our Australian manufacturing and retail customers can now count on long-term, reliable natural gas supply to flow to factories and households from 2025.

“Household names like CSR who make essential goods like plasterboard and bricks will use Senex natural gas as a key energy source in their east coast manufacturing plants over the next decade, ensuring stable jobs and the ability to produce essential building products,” Mr Davies said.

“Other manufacturers like Orora who make glass bottles and Bluescope who make Australian steel will also count on Senex’s gas to make their essential products.

“In Australia today, gas provides around 40 per cent of energy used for manufacturing and helps to drive its $100 billion industry that employs 890,000 people[1].

“Gas is an irreplaceable fuel in many manufacturing processes, providing the high-heat and feedstock required to

make products that power our modern world.

Jobs and economic wins for Queensland

“Senex’s investment will create more than 900 Queensland jobs over the life of the expansion with many of these roles based in the regions. Around 200 highly-skilled, well paid jobs will be ongoing as a result of Senex’s investment.

“The expansion will also inject more than $200 million into local businesses and communities.

“Our $1 billion expansion will put people in work, support businesses and families in our regional areas and provide long-term benefits to Queenslanders.

“The royalties delivered through this multi-decade investment will fund hospitals, roads, emergency services and more, as we support Australia’s energy security through the net zero transition and beyond,” Mr Davies said.


Energy security for Australia: more supply needed

This timely announcement comes as the east coast of Australia is experiencing a cold start to winter and an energy system under immense pressure.

“Gas is the essential and reliable energy source that can step in to firm the electricity grid when coal, wind and solar generation is not providing the energy required.

“Current energy system pressures and forecast gas shortfalls in coming years highlight the urgent need for more reliable natural gas supply in our energy system.

“As the Federal Government has said in their Cabinet-endorsed Future Gas Strategy, past investments in gas supply are not enough to get us through the next decades. We need continued investment in, and development of, gas supply and transport infrastructure to get us through the energy transition with thriving industries.

“The only real solution to the forecast shortfalls and price pressures is more supply. And that is exactly what Senex is announcing today.

“Senex is committed to investing in Australia and supplying the domestic market, and we look forward to working collaboratively with the Australian and Queensland governments to ensure stable and effective energy policy that can unlock more gas supply to support a real future made in Australia,” Mr Davies said.


[1] Our contribution – Manufacturing with gas | Australian Energy Producers

About Senex

Senex is a world-class supplier of affordable, reliable and secure energy, committed to delivering essential energy for life. The energy we proudly provide is essential to our modern lives and for the thriving communities we serve. Senex is also a critical energy provider to Australia’s manufacturing industry. The energy we supply powers the production of a range of essential goods from bricks to plasterboard to glass bottles. And we are playing our part in the global energy transformation, delivering essential energy for the journey to a cleaner energy future.

About the Atlas gas field expansion

Senex’s foundation Atlas asset, located near Wandoan in Queensland, was the first natural gas acreage in Australia dedicated to domestic supply.

From Atlas’s Surat Basin reservoir, which has some of the lowest levels of carbon dioxide in the world, Senex delivers affordable and reliable natural gas to Australian manufacturers and energy retailers from Mt Isa to Adelaide. This essential energy keeps the lights on for households and thousands of factory workers in jobs as they continue manufacturing the essential goods that power our modern world.

In 2022, Senex announced plans to invest more than A$1 billion in a major expansion of its Atlas and Roma North developments to boost domestic natural gas supply. However, the government’s unprecedented intervention in gas markets in December 2022 caused Senex shareholders to direct the investment to be paused until sufficient regulatory and investment certainty could be gained.

There were three conditions we had to meet before unpausing our expansion project:

  1. Securing gas customers
  2. Ensuring a workable mandatory code of conduct
  3. Attaining EPBC approvals

By September 2023, eight long-term, natural gas supply agreements had been signed with Australian manufacturers and energy retailers, including CSR and AGL to support the Atlas expansion. The delivery of more than 150 petajoules of natural gas supply was contingent on securing a workable mandatory code of conduct and timely receipt of federal environmental approvals.

In November 2023, Senex was granted a conditional exemption under the Mandatory Gas Code of Conduct by the Federal Government – removing some regulatory uncertainty and taking us one step closer to delivering essential energy for Australians.

In June 2024, Senex resolved its final hurdle in securing all Federal environmental approvals necessary to proceed with the expansion.

With these EPBC approvals now granted, Senex can proceed with its expansion to deliver 60 PJ of natural gas per year, representing more than 10 per cent of annual east coast domestic gas requirements. The project will result in a boost for regional communities with an estimated $200 million in economic contribution and the creation of hundreds of jobs.