QUEENSLAND’S natural gas sector has received a new billion-dollar investment that is expected to create up to 1,600 employment opportunities.

QGC Pty Limited, along with joint venture partners China National Offshore Oil Corporation and Tokyo Gas, yesterday announced the two-year, A$1.7bn development of its Queensland natural gas tenements west of Wandoan to support gas production.

The development, known as Charlie1 , involves the construction of 300-400 wells, a large field compression station and associated pipelines and facilities which will feed into existing gas processing and water infrastructure at Woleebee Creek.

The works are part of the continuous development of QGC’s tenements in the Surat Basin to sustain natural gas supply to both domestic customers and the two-train Queensland Curtis LNG (QCLNG) liquefaction plant on Curtis Island, near Gladstone.

QGC managing director Tony Nunan said this was an important investment in the future of QGC’s operations and built on the success of the world-first production of liquefied natural gas from coal seams in the past year. The QCLNG plant has delivered 62 cargoes since first LNG production in December 2014.

“This is a vote of confidence in the secure, long-term future of Queensland’s natural gas industry, which will employ Queenslanders for many years to come,” Mr Nunan said.

“The Charlie development will help to sustain the benefits of our investment in local communities and the state, including up to 1,600 construction jobs and business opportunities during the two-year project.”

Welcoming the announcement, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the investment was a ‘shot in the arm’ for the state’s LNG industry.

“As the LNG industry in Queensland moves from the construction phase to the operational phase, there have been fewer jobs in the industry than there were in the boom years,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“QGC’s announcement today that they are investing another $1.7 billion in this industry is a welcome boost to the Queensland economy.”

The investment, which follows receipt of Commonwealth and State Government environmental approvals, has been approved by QGC’s parent company BG Group and the joint venture partners.

BG Group’s share of the investment is within the Group’s previously disclosed capital expenditure program. QGC has a 73.75% interest in the relevant natural gas tenements.

QGC, which has appointed Leighton Contractors Pty Limited as the main works contractor, will progress development and construction immediately. Major infrastructure will be built on QGC property.