PIPELINE: The Wallumbilla to Gladstone gas pipeline was approved for construction in 1988.
PIPELINE: The Wallumbilla to Gladstone gas pipeline was approved for construction in 1988. Contributed

Gas industry history released in 30-year-old cabinet papers

RECENTLY released cabinet papers from the 1980s have revealed the lengthy process for the construction of the Wallumbilla to Gladstone gas pipeline.

While the ventures of private companies discovered natural gas in the Denison Trough, north of Wallumbilla, in the 1960s, contract negotiations were slow and cabinet documents 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.

It took around 14 months for the government of the day to be satisfied with a licensee submission, and on February 16 1987, the government finally moved forward on a joint venture between CSR Limited and Oil Company of Australia.

The Minister for Mines and Energy, who was now Brian Austin, outlined the proposal in cabinet documents from May 18 1987, when the cabinet held a meeting in Roma.

"The major trunk section of the pipeline from Westgrove via the central Denison Trough 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.

Approval for construction was finally given on August 1 1988, with the project finishing in 1989.

"Cabinet decided that a firm commitment be made to the construction for a pipeline to provide gas to Gladstone by October 1989,” documents said.


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