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Barossa Gas Project: Learn more

Santos has been working in the Cooper Basin for more than 60 years and invested nearly $2.5 billion over the past decade developing Queensland’s natural gas resources in southwest Queensland.

Within the Cooper Basin, we produce natural gas, petroleum, propane, butane, LPG and ethane.

These are strategic resources and form an important part of the domestic supply chain, supplying around 12 per cent of the east coast’s industrial gas demand and five per cent of the east coast’s domestic gas (ex-LNG) demand.

The Cooper Basin covers an area of approximately 127,000km2 and extends across the northeast of South Australia and southwest of Queensland.

Our activities take up less than 0.02 per cent of this total area and we are committed to ensuring the disturbance area is minimised through a responsible and steady forward work program of drilling, and a progressive rehabilitation program.

In 2023, for example, we plan to drill around 20 new wells and decommission five wells on the Queensland side of the Basin. All surface infrastructure at the discontinued wells is removed in line with the Queensland Government’s Code of Practice.

Queensland Government’s Lake Eyre Basin Consultation Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS)

The Queensland Government is currently considering options for how best to balance ecological sustainability and future economic prosperity within the Queensland Lake Eyre Basin region.

We welcome the release of the RIS and ongoing opportunity to enhance environmental and cultural protections and future economic prosperity within the region.

We know local communities in the Lake Eyre Basin rely on our operations to sustain their economy and livelihood and at Santos, our commitment is to deliver a lasting and positive impact on the communities where we operate, building enduring and respectful relationships that serve generations.

More information about how we are protecting cultural heritage, fostering economic growth and safeguarding the basin can be found below.

Protecting cultural heritage

At Santos, we proactively partner with Indigenous groups and communities to build respectful relationships that deliver positive outcomes for Indigenous people.

In the Cooper Basin, we partner with local Indigenous groups, the Wongkumara, Boonthamura, Kullilli and Kungardutyi Punthamra people, to positively contribute to land management and building sustainable communities, opportunities for work and economic growth.

We have in place an Indigenous Land Use Agreement with the Wongkumara, registered under the Native Title Act. They have provided their informed consent for our operations across the region and floodplain.

In addition, Cultural Heritage Management Plans are in place with Boonthamura, Kullilli and Kungardutyi Punthamra people for their respective areas of claim.

Through our partnerships and on an annual basis, we undertake up to 200 cultural heritage assessments in the Cooper Basin, engaging up to 100 cultural heritage officers from traditional owner groups to undertake this work.

We are proud to support economic opportunities for people to work on their Country and believe partnerships like these are an example of industry working to support reconciliation and a more equitable and inclusive society for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Safeguarding the Basin and local environment

Santos is committed to protecting the environments that we work in and recognition of the Basin as one of the state’s pristine river systems in an independent, five-year study by CSIRO and Geoscience Australia, shows that our activities continue to be conducted in a safe and environmentally sustainable way – read the study here.

The $35.4 million scientific study fully investigated the potential environmental and water-related impacts from unconventional gas resource development in the Cooper Basin and concluded that compliance with existing regulatory and management controls can mitigate all potential impacts of gas development in the Cooper Basin.

Across our Cooper Basin operations, we employ a range of environmental experts to undertake around 100 assessments each year and our people work tirelessly to protect the local environment and ensure that our resources are extracted responsibly.

Measures we deploy across the region to ensure our operations have a low impact on the environment, include:

  • Combining access track and flowlines into a single disturbance footprint and/or co-locating linear infrastructure within existing disturbed areas, where possible.
  • Ensuring width of linear infrastructure corridors is restricted to the minimum width practicable.
  • Ensuring activities are located away from watercourses and wetlands wherever practicable.
  • Ensuring access tracks, infrastructure and seismic lines are located, prepared and constructed to maintain existing surface water flows.

Santos is committed to being the safest oil and gas operator in Australia and preventing harm to people and the environment.

We have a broad and deep knowledge of working with landholders and high valued and complex businesses, including Australian Certified Organic Standard properties.

This is demonstrated through the local landholders who host our infrastructure and continue to supply their beef to organically certified suppliers.

Investing in local communities

Over the past ten years, we have invested more than $2.5 billion in the Cooper Basin.

This investment has sustained between 250 and 450 direct jobs and generated more than $300 million in royalties, delivering a significant boost to the Queensland economy.

Locally, we are funding up to 60 per cent of Council rates, sustaining essential services and infrastructure in regional Shires like Bulloo and Quilpie.

Through our investment, landholders and communities benefit from maintained roads, water for stock, community sponsorships, including Santos’ long-term support and facilitation of the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) in the region.

Over the past ten years, Santos has contributed more than $1 million in community investments and sponsorships, ensuring important community initiatives such as the RFDS Wellbeing Fly-Around to regional communities continues.

We know local communities in the Lake Eyre Basin rely on our operations to sustain their economy and livelihood and at Santos, our commitment is to deliver a lasting and positive impact on the communities where we operate, building enduring and respectful relationships that serve generations.