Australia’s gas-fired recovery has taken another step forward with the launch of grants aimed at supporting exploration of the Northern Territory’s Beetaloo Basin.
Federal Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt said $50 million in grants would be provided through the Beetaloo cooperative drilling program.
“The program is expected to deliver approximately 10 additional exploration wells in the Beetaloo by 2022, and bring forward at least $150 million of private investment from companies,” Pitt said.
“This Commonwealth grants program will support gas operators to speed up exploration and development of the Beetaloo Basin.”
The grants are a key component of the government’s agenda to bring gas from the basin and into the market by at least 2025.
Pitt added that the Beetaloo cooperative drilling program is part of the Beetaloo strategic basin plan and the government’s $224 million commitment to the basin.
Senator for Northern Terrirtory Sam McMahon added that it would be a major local economic driver.
“The plan is expected to generate significant development in the Top End, creating up to 6000 jobs over the next 20 years and helping Australia remain a world leader in gas,” McMahon said.
“This investment by the Morrison-McCormack Government will provide new opportunities for thousands of Territorians and ensure the NT can emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic in a strong position.”
The Beetaloo cooperative drilling program will provide grants of between $750,000 and $7.5 million, up to a total of $50 million, to gas companies to support exploration that occurs before 30 December 2022.
Earlier this month, Empire Energy chief executive officer Alex Underwood described the Australian Government’s Beetaloo Strategic Basin Plan as a “brilliant initiative”.
The plan, which was released in January, outlines how the Beetaloo development projects could produce 6000 jobs by 2040, with the gas produced from large-scale Beetaloo development potentially suppling a variety of gas markets.
“We are excited that Canberra is taking such strong leadership in driving this development as part of its Gas-Fired Recovery plan, and doing it with strong financial support. There is a real commitment in its work well-reflected in this Plan summary,” Underwood said.
Empire Energy’s Carpentaria-1 well, located in the Beetaloo sub-Basin, was drilled in October 2020.