Oil and gas

The Northern Territory (NT) is home to untapped onshore gas resources of global scale and potential.

Following the lifting of a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing of unconventional gas reservoirs by the NT Government in 2018, exploration activities to prove-up highly prospective plays in the Beetaloo sub-basin 500km south of Darwin, have recommenced.

Commercial development of onshore resources is central to the NT Government’s vision for growing the gas industry in the NT.

Northern Territory gas strategy

The government's vision for the Territory's gas industry is:

By 2030, the Territory is a world-class gas production, manufacturing and services hub. 

The five point plan to achieve this vision includes:

  1. Expanding the world-scale Darwin LNG export hub
  2. Growing the NT’s service and supply industry
  3. Establishing gas-based processing and manufacturing industries
  4. Growing local research, innovation and training capacity
  5. Contributing to Australia’s energy security.

The burgeoning offshore gas industry complements the development potential of the Territory’s highly prospective onshore gas resources. Proven gas reserves in northern Australian waters have underwritten two LNG projects in Darwin Harbour which produce a globally significant 12.6 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa). 

The Darwin and Ichthys LNG projects now supply more than 10% of Japan’s natural gas imports - a figure that is destined to rise with the realisation of expansion opportunities. Land is now available for five additional LNG trains in Darwin, which provides an attractive pathway to market for yet-to-be developed offshore reserves, and unlocking the potential of onshore gas resources.

Shell FLNG with LNG tanker alongside

Onshore oil and gas facts and stats:

  • Previous exploration wells drilled by Origin, Santos and Pangaea and associated discovery reports indicate a P50 ‘gas-in-place’ resource of at least 500 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) gas for one shale layer alone.
  • There are also further prospective layers in the Beetaloo Sub-basin, and other basins, which are still to be appraised.
  • Gas produced from the central Australian Amadeus Basin is now delivered into the eastern Australian domestic gas market with the recent commissioning of the Northern Gas Pipeline. 
  • The onshore Beetaloo sub-basin is geologically analogous to the giant Marcellus Shale in the USA which delivers over 11tcf of gas to market per year - this is about 10 times the total Australian domestic gas market.
  • Associated but unproven liquid hydrocarbon resources in the Beetaloo sub-basin are estimated in the billions of barrels.

Previous exploration wells drilled by Origin, Santos and Pangaea and associated discovery reports indicate a P50 ‘gas-in-place’ resource of at least 500 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) gas for one shale layer alone in a multi-layer shale play.

There are also further prospective layers in the Beetaloo Sub-basin, and other basins, which are still to be appraised.