Two junior explorers — Pure Energy/Strata X and Santos Ventures — have been given the green light to explore and develop gas on 164 square kilometres of highly prospective land in south-west Queensland.

Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said today that the blocks were close to existing gas infrastructure and near Australia’s gas hub in Wallumbilla in Queensland’s world-class Surat Basin.

“These latest approvals for Pure Energy/Strata X and Santos will help unlock more gas supply,” Dr Lynham said.

“More potential gas in the pipeline will provide further security for users and the jobs that flow from it.

“The Palaszczuk Government is doing all we can to get more gas into the market, because industry here and around the world need our mineral and energy resources.

“Our resources will support business and industry in continuing to operate through this coronavirus pandemic, and, most importantly, keep people in jobs.”

Already in 2020, the government has released 7000 square kilometres of land for resources exploration to identify the next generation of projects and the jobs that will flow from them.

And in a national first earlier this month, joint venture partners Australian Pacific LNG and Armour Energy were approved to develop up to 103 petajoules of gas over 30 years on land near Chinchilla in south-west Queensland.

Dr Lynham said Pure Energy/Strata X’s Venus project would explore a 153 km2 block west of Miles and Santos will  explore two blocks totalling a 101 km2 near Wallumbilla.

Dr Lynham said even the ACCC’s latest gas report released in February 2020, recognised the Government’s measures to encourage gas exploration to further strengthen supply.

Since 2015 this Government has released more than 70,000 km2 of land for gas exploration with over a quarter of it guaranteed for the Australian domestic market.