by Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane as a way of creating a national gas network and preventing future gas shortages.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) the link could see a gas pipeline network running all the way from the Browse Basin, off the northern coast of Western Australia, to Mount Isa, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and as far south as Hobart.
Speaking to SMH, Mr Macfarlane said the project was “more than a vision” and that he had already been discussing the matter with NT chief minister Adam Giles, the industry and NSW Energy Minister Anthony Roberts and that “at the moment we are trying to get enough pieces to fit”.
With a 900 kilometre pipeline from Browse Basin to Darwin already under construction, the relatively short “missing link” between Alice Springs and Moomba would join eastern Australia to abundant gas supplies from the north.
Mr Macfarlane took a swipe at the NSW government’s inaction over a predicted gas shortage in that state telling SMH, “Even if we see major progress there in the next 12 months because of all the time that has been lost in NSW, there is no way that will provide a solution to NSW’s impending gas shortage and higher prices which will really start to come into being in the winter of 2016 and then 2017,” he said.
“The only solution to the gas supply problem in NSW appears to be interconnection.”
“It [gas] could become very expensive. There are people speculating it could cost $10 a gigajoule or more.”
Mr Macfarlane also singled out Mount Isa as another possible point of connection.
According to the SMH, the plan, “…could deliver additional gas supplies into NSW within three years which would be about two years faster than developing NSW’s own gas supplies.”