Apr 22, 2020In The Community

Regional Community Spotlight: Sale, Victoria

The natural gas industry is embedded within regional communities across Australia. These articles will profile some regional communities that have has long-standing relationships with the natural gas industry. ​

Fast Facts:

  • Key towns to the natural gas industry: Sale and Longford ​
  • Federal Electorate: Gippsland (Population at 2016 census: 271,266)​
  • Active member companies and projects: Gippsland Basin Joint Venture (Esso and BHP). The GBJV operates 23 offshore platforms and installations in the Bass Strait and 600kms of subsea pipelines. Onshore operations include the Longford plants.  ​
  • Powering our homes: Natural gas is one of Gippsland’s major industries, producing 40 per cent of eastern Australia’s domestic gas and half of all oil ever produced in Australia ​
  • Jobs: 200 people directly employed at Longford Plants, with indirect employment through the local supply chain. ​
  • Did you know? Up to 300 people are living offshore at any one time and they commute via helicopter through Sale.   ​

Recently the Victorian Government announced that from 1 July 2021, the exploration for onshore natural gas can resume in the state. The two basins in Victoria that are central to onshore exploration are the Otway and Gippsland Basins. ​

The Gippsland Basin is located approximately 200 km east of Melbourne and is currently suppling gas to the country through offshore production. ​

​The Longford Plants, currently operated by Esso, are situated 20km from Sale in South Gippsland. These plants are the onshore receiving point for oil and gas output from Bass Strait. ​

Since 1969, the plants at Longford have been supplying most of Victoria’s gas requirements and supplying gas to New South Wales and Tasmania. 

Around 200 people are directly employed at the plants and the operation supports a flow-on benefit to local jobs. According to the Wellington Shire Council, many local businesses support Esso’s operations.

The announcement by Victorian Government to lift the onshore gas development moratorium was backed by studies from the State’s Chief Scientist, who looked at a range of matters associated with such projects. It was found that among the positive factors, all possible scenarios would result in employment growth in the Gippsland region. ​

This ranged from “…an average annual additional 21 full-time equivalents under the low scenario (or total of 355 full-time equivalents – 145 direct and 210 indirect over the lifetime of production) to an average annual additional 68 full-time equivalents under the high scenario (or total of 890 fulltime equivalents – 520 direct and 370 indirect over the lifetime of production).” ​


Some of the community initiatives: ​

Over the last 50 years, the Gippsland Basin Joint Venture has supported schools, emergency services, hospitals and a large number of community groups. This has been achieved in a number of unique ways, including the donation of 40 original artworks to the Gippsland Art Gallery, mentoring programs and the annual event in Sale, “Esso night under the stars.” ​

Meet the local supply chain: ​Ann Ferguson, Ferguson Civil Construction

“Esso Australia has worked with many local companies over the years that were formed in order to fulfil their requirements… ours is the type of family that started companies over the kitchen table” . Read more here.


Meet the apprentice: Lucy McParland, Apprentice, Esso Australia​

“I enjoy working in the area I grew up in, with the extra benefit of working with other locals… something not many people in rural communities get a chance to do”. Read more here.