AGL Energy Limited (AGL) today announced that the New South Wales Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) has approved AGL's application to construct the Newcastle Gas Storage Facility at Tomago, near Newcastle.

The total project investment will be approximately $310 million.

Mike Moraza, Group General Manager Upstream Gas said: "This facility will enable AGL to meet the growing demand for gas by the people and businesses of New South Wales. AGL will be able to provide security of gas supply for more than 700,000 customers by managing peak gas demand and pipeline constraints."

Granted under Section 75J of the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act 1979 and subject to certain conditions, the approval allows AGL to construct:

  • the gas plant
  • an access road and utility corridor
  • a gas pipeline access corridor
  • a pipeline corridor including temporary construction areas
  • the Hexham natural gas receiving station
  • a gas pipeline connection to the existing Jemena Gate Station at Hexham
  • associated and ancillary infrastructure.

Expected to be completed in 2015, the site will incorporate:

  • a processing plant that will convert pipeline natural gas to liquefied natural gas (LNG) by cooling it to -162°C. It will be capable of processing up to 66,500t of LNG per year
  • an insulated, non-pressurised LNG storage tank capable of containing 30,000t or 63,000 m³ of LNG, equivalent to 1.5 petajoules of natural gas and an associated containment area
  • a re-gasification unit to convert the LNG in the storage tank back into natural gas.

The Commonwealth's Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC) has confirmed the project is a controlled action under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. AGL expects a final determination from the Minister of DSEWPaC in approximately two months.

About AGL

AGL is one of Australia's leading integrated renewable energy companies and is taking action toward creating a sustainable energy future for our investors, communities and customers. Drawing on 175 years of experience, AGL operates retail and merchant energy businesses, power generation assets and an upstream gas portfolio. AGL has one of Australia's largest retail energy and dual fuel customer bases. AGL has a diverse power generation portfolio including base, peaking and intermediate generation plants, spread across traditional thermal generation as well as renewable sources including hydro, wind, landfill gas and biomass. AGL is Australia's largest private owner and operator of renewable energy assets and is looking to further expand this position by exploring a suite of low emission and renewable energy generation development opportunities.