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NT government supports unconventional shale oil and gas industry

The Northern Territory government is supporting the development of the unconventional shale oil and gas industry in the Territory.

With petroleum exploration applications now covering over 90 per cent of the Northern Territory, the government believes there is a very real opportunity to see new projects develop.

“The development of the shale oil and gas industry, under the proper regulatory frameworks, could result in significant economic benefits for the Territory through royalties and employment opportunities,” said Westra van Holthe, NT Minister for Mines and Energy.

The Department has already issued approvals for horizontal stimulation to begin at two wells operated by PetroFrontier in the Southern Georgina Basin, approximately 500km north-east of Alice Springs.

This emerging industry can involve the horizontal stimulation of wells to allow the oil and gas found in shale to be extracted.

“I am confident that we have the necessary procedures and regulations in place to ensure that best practice standards are utilised during any unconventional shale oil and gas activity," said van Holthe.

“This particular type of exploration has an extremely small footprint and involves minimal environmental disturbance less environmental disturbance than other forms of mining activity," he added

It is estimated from geological information that the onshore potential of unconventional shale oil and gas reserves in the Territory are in the order of 200-trillion cubic feet (Tcf).

To put this in to context of potential development opportunities, a discovery of over 2-Tcf could be considered commercially viable for production.

“Once the results of the Georgina Basin project wells are understood, we will have a better understanding of the scope for this sort of exploration activity to expand,” added van Holthe.

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