Investors, miners at the ready
A GRATEFUL energy sector has promised to deliver local jobs while welcoming the decision to allow the development of an onshore gas industry.
The Gunner Government has accepted all 135 recommendations of the scientific inquiry into hydraulic fracturing headed by Justice Rachel Pepper, meaning the 18-month ban can be removed once key recommendations have been enacted.
The Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association NT director Matthew Doman said explorers were ready to resume their activities as soon as the Government gives the green light.
“APPEA’s member companies stand ready to invest billions of dollars in new projects in the Territory,” Mr Doman said.
“We are determined to do this in a safe and sustainable manner, and to generate real benefits for all Territorians.”
Pangaea Resources, one of three major energy companies with exploration permits in the Beetaloo Basin, welcomed the Northern Territory Government’s decision “thanking the numerous stakeholders” for the support and trust they have shown in enabling a safe and sustainable industry to grow in the Territory.
Pangaea chief executive Sunil Salhotra said the decision meant the Northern Territory could play a significant role in the production of affordable and reliable energy in Australia.
“The Northern Territory possesses a globally significant onshore basin that can lead the way in domestic and international energy production,” he said.
Santos chief executive and managing director Kevin Gallagher described the decision as a “great outcome” for Territory communities because it will reinvigorate the economy.
“Territory businesses, contractors and workers are counting on the quick ramp-up of the onshore gas industry to get the Territory moving again,” Mr Gallagher said.
“As soon we can get back to work, we will employ local people, engage local companies and resume royalty payments to host Traditional Owners. Santos does not want to let them down and we will be ready to go in the 2019 dry season.”
Origin Energy executive general manager of integrated gas Mark Schubert said well testing completed just before the moratorium indicated there was a promising material gas resource in the Beetaloo Sub-basin.
“We now plan to resume work as soon as practical, adopting the recommendations of the Scientific Inquiry and gaining the necessary approvals to complete our remaining exploration and appraisal commitments,” he said.
“We look forward to working with government, pastoralists, Traditional Owners and the community to deliver the benefits that will come from responsibly developing the Territory’s onshore natural gas resources.”
Chamber of Commerce NT chief executive Greg Bicknell said the decision had come at a crucial time in the history of the Northern Territory economy.
“The challenges facing the Territory business community from sluggish business conditions underline the importance of the onshore shale gas industry to our future prosperity,” he said. “We urge the gas companies to maximise local involvement and demonstrate how they are going to be socially responsible and avoid a FIFO workforce.”