Onshore gas in the NT

It's no secret that Australia has been in pursuit of expanding its gas industry in recent months. These efforts have been particularly focused in Western Australia and in the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) market.

While this presents an economic opportunity for Australia, some commentators have cautioned the risk of a rise in gas prices domestically.

The Northern Territory is getting into the gas industry action too. Chief Minister Adam Giles and Mines Minister Willem Westra Van Holthe discussed the matter at the APPEA conference in Adelaide on October 1.

They noted how Australia's onshore gas industry has huge potential and could be a significant contributor to Australia's energy future.

What is the NT government saying?

"Onshore gas is a potential game-changer in the Northern Territory and I am determined to ensure we maximise the benefits for the economy including jobs and infrastructure," said Mr Giles.

"Offshore gas has already become an integral part of the Territory economy with ConocoPhillips and INPEX investing heavily in processing infrastructure on Darwin Harbour. But investors are now increasingly looking onshore as well."

Mr Giles continued to say that the territory's potential reserves of unconventional gas amount to around 240 trillion cubic feet across six basins. Therefore there is a huge amount of untapped possibility and profit lying in wait, which the territory government has committed to pursue.

New policy is being introduced that will encourage exploration companies to come to the NT, find gas and process it through to development. Explorers will not be able to lock up land without intention of development with this new 'use it or lose it' scheme.

What does this mean for current oil and gas developers in the region and energy security?

The exact guidelines of this scheme are currently being developed and the relevant oil and gas companies already operating in the area are remaining informed on developments.

Overall, the gas landscape in the NT will become more competitive. The best applicants who have the most sound plans for development will be the ones to receive grants to land.

Mr Westra van Holthe said the NT can capitalise greatly from this onshore gas potential and all citizens will be able to benefit from further developments.

With the right industry infrastructure, the gas coming from the NT will be able to connect to the rest of Australia's supply. This will have a significant impact not only on the NT's energy security, but the whole nation's.

Posted by Callum Fleming