Bowen Basin's $1 billion pipeline clears first step

THE first step in a 580km gas pipeline development worth $1 billion has been approved for the Bowen Basin.

The Environment Department on Monday said it had approved Arrow Energy's Bowen Basin Pipeline project, dependent on go-aheads from the state and federal governments.

What the department did accept was that its environmental impact statement - the guiding document for how a project will be built - was comprehensive.

Now there would be further discussions with the Queensland Government on how Arrow would develop the pipeline before the energy firm faces further scrutiny from Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke.

The massive project is planned to funnel gas from 6625 wells to be built on the outskirts of Moranbah, Glenden, Dysart, Middlemount and Blackwater in Queensland's central-west to factories in Gladstone.

Queensland Environment Minister Andrew Powell said Arrow - owned by multi-national gas firms PetroChina and Shell - still needed an environmental authority from the state, a document spelling out the criteria it must meet while building and operating.

Mr Powell said the project was an example of building the state's finances while maintaining environmental standards.

Arrow is also planning a 470km pipeline connecting its south-west Queensland gas wells to Gladstone.