03 May 2023

Media Release: Beetaloo green light ushers in economic prosperity and east coast energy security

Australia’s oil and gas industry says today’s 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.

The Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA) said the NT Government’s implementation of the 2018 Pepper Inquiry recommendations ensured onshore development can proceed safely, protecting the environment and in consultation with stakeholders.

APPEA NT Director David Slama said: “This is the beginning of a new wave of prosperity for the Northern Territory and Australia, delivering new jobs and substantial economic benefits while strengthening east coast energy security.

“The NT has backed the Beetaloo and it’s great news for the businesses and people of Darwin and regional communities like Katherine and Tennant Creek to benefit from new investment and jobs.

“Gas is already so crucial to the NT economy – employing 11,000 workers along the supply chain, enabling about $19 billion of economic activity annually – and our commitment to working with regional communities will ensure the benefits will continue to be shared.”

Research has found Beetaloo development, depending on its size, could create up to 6,300 jobs, a $1 billion increase in revenues projected to the NT Government over the next two decades and $22.4 billion in NT economic growth (measured by Gross Territory Product) by 2040.

Mr Slama said the industry was a major investor in decarbonisation and renewables, progressing net zero technologies such as carbon capture and storage (CCS) and low-carbon hydrogen set to feature at the Middle Arm Sustainable Development Precinct near Darwin.

“The NTG decision follows the facts and science to get the best outcome for the NT while recognising the important role of gas in a cleaner energy future – backing up renewables, kick-starting low-carbon hydrogen and supporting major industries like manufacturing,” he said.

“Completion of the recommendations was important so development can proceed in a responsible and environmentally safe way in a robust regulatory environment and in collaboration with landholders and Traditional Owners.

“More than a dozen inquiries and reviews – including the Pepper Inquiry which took 15 months, received 1,250 submissions, held more than 150 public hearings and over 50 community forums – have established that any risks associated with hydraulic fracturing can be safely managed.”

APPEA Chief Executive Samantha McCulloch said 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.

“This is the kind of policy environment needed on the east coast in states like New South Wales and Victoria to avoid forecast shortfalls in coming years and ensure gas can play a critical role in the transformation of our energy system for net zero.”

Media Contact: 0435 113 224