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Frontier exploration scopes exciting new resource reserves in the NT’s Barkly region

4 November 2019

Joint media release with Northern Territory Minister for Primary Industry and Resources Paul Kirby

A new seismic survey scoping out the potential for new gas, liquids and other mineral resources in the Northern Territory’s Barkly region wraps up this week, paving the way for further resource exploration and jobs, Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan said today.

The 820 kilometre survey covers ground which has seen little exploration in the past. It will fill in the ‘missing link’ between Mount Isa in Queensland and the Beetaloo Sub Basin in the Northern Territory.

“The Beetaloo sub-Basin to the North of this region has the potential to deliver 178,000 Petajoules of shale gas, which is larger than any of the North West Shelf conventional gas resources. It’s exciting to have a region that could promise the same potential resources,” Minister Canavan said.

“Over 25 years a moderate scale of onshore gas development in the NT could create more than 6,500 jobs and be worth more than $9 billion nationally.

“Mines in the Barkly region already contribute $17 million annually to the Australian economy and the mining industry in the Northern Territory employs 4500 people. With this new data, we could expand this significantly and create more jobs for Northern Australia.”

Companies are becoming increasingly attracted to potential of region as the recent farm-in by Santos into Armour Energy’s acreage in the South Nicholson Basin demonstrates. 

Northern Territory Minister for Primary Industry and Resources Paul Kirby said recent industry interest in the Beetaloo area, including new drilling activity, showed the areas have huge potential.

“Since we lifted the moratorium on fracking in the Northern Territory, we’ve seen significant industry interest in the South Nicholson Basin and the Beetaloo Sub-Basin, including recent commitments into frontier acreage,” Minister Kirby said.

“Just this year, around 13,000 square kilometres of new exploration licence applications have been made by industry over previous vacant ground in the Barkly area, this creates jobs and is good for the local economy.”

The Federal Government has contributed $4.5 million to the survey under the Exploring for the Future Program, with an additional $140,000 from the Northern Territory Geological Survey. It commenced in September 2019 close to the Queensland border (near Camooweal) and will extend to near Elliot in the Northern Territory.

“The aim of Exploring for the Future is to provide new understanding of mineral, energy and groundwater resources potential in Northern Australia,” Minister Canavan said.

The acquired data from the survey will be processed and released in the first half of 2020.

Media contacts:

Minister Canavan’s office 02 6277 7180

Minister Kirby’s office 08 8936 5680