A multinational oil and gas producer has received another nod to proceed with its $3.6 billion natural gas development in New South Wales’ North West Slopes region.
The NSW Independent Planning Commission (IPC) recently approved Santos’ Narrabri Gas Project, 500km northwest of Sydney. The project lives within the Queensland Government’s border bubble, allowing those residents to move freely across both states without having to quarantine for two weeks.
“The commission concludes the project is in the public interest and that any negative impacts can be effectively mitigated with  strict conditions,” an IPC spokesperson said in a statement according to the Australian Associated Press.
The decision means the proponent is one step closer to start the 20-year process of creating more than 850 new gas wells across 95,000 hectares of the Pilliga National Park and nearby grazing land.
The operation is promised to feed the existing Wilga Park Power Station and power the equivalent of 32,000 households. There is future potential to meet up to half of the Premier State’s natural gas needs and supply 500,000 family homes and 16,500 businesses.
Santos has already hired 16 locals and procured goods and services from the region worth $2 million. The company will eventually need to fill 1600 construction jobs, and is now holding talks with the Federal Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment about recommending the project to Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley.
“IPC approval is a significant step forward for the Narrabri community, a majority of whom support the project and the jobs, business opportunities, infrastructure and community investment that will come with it,” Santos managing director and CEO Kevin Gallagher said in a public statement.
“Santos is committed to our operational employees working and living locally with their families as part of the Narrabri community. Now all we want to do is to get on with creating jobs in New South Wales and Narrabri, and making a real difference to people’s lives in rural and regional communities.”