From a pipe dream to a reality: Gas pipeline approved in '88
CABINET papers from 1988 have revealed the lengthy process for the construction of the Denison Trough to Gladstone gas pipeline.
The state government approved the construction of the pipes in 1988 but the planning took several years.
Planning of the project started in 1979, with the Bjelke-Petersen Government committing to the project in 1985.
The 600km pipeline would initially deliver 30 terajoules of gas a day to the Queensland Alumina Refinery.
It was expected a sales agreement was to be finalised by October 1984, with the project completed by January 1986.
However, cabinet papers from 1985 revealed Minister for Mines and Energy Ivan Gibbs was concerned about the submissions from prospective licensees.
"(Subsequent submissions) were not acceptable and action has been taken by the Inter-Departmental Committee, as authorised, to develop a proposal which will meet Government requirements,” Mr Gibbs said.
On February 16, 1987, the government awarded an operating licence to a joint venture between CSR Limited and Oil Company of Australia.
The Minister for Mines and Energy - now Brian Austin - outlined the proposal in cabinet documents from May 18, 1987.
"The major trunk section of the pipeline from Westgrove via the central Denison Trough to Gladstone will be of 10 inch diameter (273mm) pipe to provide adequate capacity for the future connection to Surat Basin and Cooper-Eromanga Basin reserves,” Mr Austin said.
Shortly after, Bridge Oil Ltd submitted a proposal to the joint venture to share the market and the pipeline.
However, that offer was rejected "on the grounds that sharing the market would result in an unacceptable lowering of returns”.
The disagreement put the project at risk of being delayed.
"I now propose to hold discussions with the various companies in order to arrive at an acceptable arrangement which will provide for early commencement of the Denison Trough project,” Mr Austin said.
Approval for construction was finally given on August 1, 1988.
"Cabinet decided that a firm commitment be made to the construction for a pipeline to provide gas to Gladstone by October 1989, with technical design and route specifications to be finalised by the end of August 1988,” documents said.
The project, now known as the Queensland Gas Pipeline, has a current throughput of 143 terajoules a day of gas over 627km of pipeline.
It is now operated by Jemena, an energy corporation with the State Grid Corporation of China and Singapore Power as its major shareholders.
The pipeline has since been expanded to deliver gas to other clients, including the Boyne Island Smelter, Orica Yarwun and businesses in Moura and Rockhampton.