Western Australia Seeks Operator for New Natural Gas Pipeline

Western Australia's state government said Monday that it is looking for qualified companies interested in building and operating a planned new 217-mile (350-kilometer) natural gas pipeline – capable of carrying 12 terajoules of gas per day – from Bunbury to Albany.

The government, through a published statement on its website, said that it will seek expressions of interest through an open tender process.

"The project would be awarded by mid-2013 with construction to begin mid-2014," Western Australia's Premier Colin Barnett said in the statement. Barnett added that he expects construction to take less than six months, meaning that the pipeline could be operational by early 2015.

The total cost of the project, and the extent of the government's financial contribution, will be determined as part of the tender process. Early estimates from the government are for a capital cost of $140 million (AUD 135 million), inclusive of construction, reticulation and conversion of existing appliances.

Commenting on the project, Western Australia's Regional Development Minister Brendon Grylls said in the statement that "the pipeline would be built with capacity for further expansion to accommodate future gas requirements, including lateral pipelines to other regional centers such as Katanning, one of the initial nine Western Australian towns preparing for growth under the Regional Centers Development Plan (SuperTowns) program."

"Access to internationally competitive gas prices will drive investment in value-adding and export production, including in viticulture, agriculture, mineral processing and timber industries," Grylls said.


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