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    NT government finalises Beetaloo regulatory framework


The state has finalised all 135 recommendations of the 2018 Scientific Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracturing in the Northern Territory. [Image: NT government]

by: Shardul Sharma

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Natural Gas & LNG News, Asia/Oceania, Security of Supply, Political, News By Country, Australia

NT government finalises Beetaloo regulatory framework

The Northern Territory (NT) government on May 3 announced it had finalised all 135 recommendations of the 2018 Scientific Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracturing in the Northern Territory having released its final implementation report. Finalisation of the recommendations sets the scene for approval of gas production in the Beetaloo sub-basin.

The Northern Territory government recently completed the Strategic Regional Environmental and Baseline Assessment (SREBA), which is a series of regional scientific studies conducted in the state. The SREBA provides information necessary for appropriate decisions to be made about the development of the Beetaloo, including the assessment of water and biodiversity resources, to inform land-use planning, and the collection of baseline data to provide a reference for ongoing monitoring.

The final implementation report concluded, "Having considered the system reform undertaken as a complete package, the NT government is now satisfied that the risks identified by the inquiry have been sufficiently mitigated and is confident that applications for onshore petroleum production licenses may now be accepted for consideration by the new regulatory regime."

Chief minister of the Northern Territory Natasha Fyles said, "Along with our world-class renewable resources, our highly prospective onshore gas resources will support our energy security during the transition to renewables - and will improve living standards for all Territorians."

Australia’s oil and gas industry body Appea in a separate statement said the green light for developing the Northern Territory’s Beetaloo basin will support thousands of new jobs, deliver millions of dollars investment in regional communities and boost the nation’s east coast energy security.

Appea CEO Samantha McCulloch said the new gas supply was important to putting long-term downward pressure on prices and continuing to deliver energy security on the east coast.

“The Beetaloo basin is a major new gas supply opportunity in Australia and today it is a big step closer to realising the extraordinary economic benefits,” she said. “The east coast energy system pressures last winter exposed the long-term under investment in gas supply because of bans and regulatory uncertainty in southern states.”

“The Beetaloo has been progressed under a stable long-term policy environment over the past five years that has allowed companies to invest millions of dollars in exploration, benefiting remote regional communities,” she added.

Appea said that research has found Beetaloo development, depending on its size, could create up to 6,300 jobs, a A$1bn increase in revenues projected to the NT government over the next two decades and A$22.4bn in NT economic growth by 2040.