Onshore gas bonanza: what role fracking?


Sir – We attended the APPEA conference in Adelaide discussing Australia’s energy future including the huge potential of onshore gas.
It is a potential game-changer in the Northern Territory [with] benefits for the economy including jobs and infrastructure.
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.
The Northern Territory’s potential reserves of unconventional gas total approximately 240 trillion cubic feet spread across six basins.
The Territory Government has developed a ‘use it or lose it’ policy which encourages exploration companies to progress their gas finds through to development.
We want companies to develop gas fields, not just explore and our new ‘use it or lose it’ policy will stop explorers locking up prospective land without the intention of development.
Guidelines are being developed and have already been distributed for comment to all active oil and gas companies in the Northern Territory. These will form a more competitive assessment procedure to select the best application on merit to a grant over that land.
Onshore gas reserves could hold the key not only to the Territory’s long term energy security but to the whole country’s. Other jurisdictions are desperate for more gas and we want to be part of a national pipeline network that can transport our gas to customers in other parts of the country.
We are working with our interstate and federal colleagues to build industry infrastructure that will connect the Territory’s gas supplies to the rest of Australia.”
Chief Minister Adam Giles (above left)

Mines Minister Willem Westra Van Holthe (above right)

[ED – We asked the Mr Giles and Mr Van Holthe what role they expect fracking to have in this development process.]


  1. I’m no geologist, but as I understand it the “onshore gas” in the NT is predominantly shale gas, as opposed to coal seam gas in the eastern states.
    Shale gas is the major form of unconventional gas in the USA, and overwhelmingly is extracted using fracking and horizontal drilling.
    I don’t think we would see onshore gas development in the NT without fracking.
    Hopefully Land Councils will be able to give TOs sufficient information about the potential environmental impact such that they are able to grant or withhold fully informed consent for exploration licenses.

  2. Wake up NT. The sun shines most every day in Central Australia. No fracking, risk to water tables or in-creased CO2 in the atmosphere.
    The inability of our current batch of political leaders to accept their responsibility for future generations is depressing.
    I can understand Clive Palmer’s interest but for the rest of you, it is supposed to be ours.


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