BANANA Shire's mayor has applauded a deal between the Moura gas fields and the Gladstone LNG project, saying it was "good news for employees, local businesses and the regional economy".
The deal, announced last month, gives Meridian a new 20-year agreement with GLNG to replace existing gas sales contracts that are due to expire in 2015, and underpins the long-term future of the gas business operated by WestSide Corporation Ltd in joint venture with Mitsui E&P Australia Pty Ltd.
Mayor Ron Carige recently met in Biloela with WestSide's managing director Mike Hughes, who provided an update on the company's plans to invest in expansion of the business to increase production over the next three years.
"It's great to see a company like WestSide announce plans to invest in the expansion of a local business at a time when many others are having to cut back," he said.
The Meridian operation in Moura currently employs a permanent workforce of about 15 people, most of whom live in Moura or are based in the region.
In the longer term the deal will create additional indirect employment through sustained investment in the business.
"Importantly, the new sales agreement underpins the longer-term future of Meridian, which will continue to support regional businesses and the community through ongoing investment and the generation of local employment opportunities," Cr Carige said.
WestSide and Mitsui plan to expand the Meridian gas field to supply increasing volumes of gas to the Gladstone LNG project from 2015.
Under the terms of the sales agreement, up to 65 terajoules of gas per day will be supplied from Meridian to GLNG over a period of 20 years.