Shell Australia today announced that its QGC joint venture was continuing its investment in Queensland with the drilling of up to 161 additional wells - a move that enables further supply to both domestic customers and natural gas exports.

“Project Ruby” expands on QGC’s operations in the Surat Basin, and will underpin 350 new and existing jobs in regional Queensland during the 16 month construction, and sustain QGC’s gas production as older wells decline.

In making the announcement Shell chairman Andrew Smith said this latest project was the company’s way of continuing to supply gas into the east coast market whilst protecting valuable export jobs in regional Australia.

“This is the next significant milestone for the QGC project and a further vote of confidence in Queensland’s onshore gas industry,” he said.

“We are proud to be investing in regional Queensland, where state and local government have had the vision to establish the rules for a gas industry that creates jobs and supports farmers by providing water, building new roads and paying taxes.

“During construction the Queensland gas industry created more than 40,000 jobs, and even today after construction has been completed it employs 13,000 people.

“In a week where the actions of governments in Victoria and New South Wales have been topical, it is worth noting not one job like these 13,000 exists in Gippsland or the Hunter Valley.

“Queensland has shown itself to be a leader in creating an onshore gas industry, creating valuable export jobs, and today’s announcement shows the industry is growing and creating more jobs.

“Local gas production also means Queensland customers will pay less for gas than those in southern states. This is a competitive advantage for Queensland business in attracting manufacturing jobs from Victoria where gas customers will be forced to pay more for political reasons.”

The new wells will be drilled in 2017 and 2018 in QGC’s existing tenements in south-west Queensland. Discussions with landholders are underway to agree access conditions and compensation, as well as the location of wells and associated infrastructure to ensure we minimise our impact to agricultural activities.

New jobs associated with the project will be advertised in the Surat Basin – and will provide local people an opportunity to find well paid jobs in their communities.

Shell’s QGC business is a net contributor to the domestic gas market and will sell more than 75 petajoules (PJs), net of domestic gas purchases, to customers in Australia this year. This represents more than 10% of east coast gas demand and 40% of Queensland’s demand.

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