Approval has been given to Origin and Santos to install two groundwater monitoring bores in the Beetaloo Sub-Basin.
The approval is in line with recommendation 7.11 of the Independent Scientific Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracturing, which requires the collection of six months of baseline groundwater data in preparation for future activities at these sites.
The companies will be required to provide laboratory reports to the NT Government and the data will be published online.
The Environment Management Plans for the groundwater monitoring bores are available on the Department of Primary Industry and Resources website.
Approval has not been sought or given for any petroleum well drilling or hydraulic fracturing activity.
In line with another recommendation from the Inquiry (14.27), an Onshore Gas Non-Compliance Hotline has also been established as a way for people to report potential non-compliance of the onshore gas industry in the Territory.
The 24-hour toll-free hotline number is 1800 413 889. Calls can be made anonymously.
The Northern Territory Minister for Primary Industry and Resources, Ken Vowles, said, “The Territory Labor Government has a clear plan to protect our environment, create local jobs and ensure the actions of government and industry are transparent and accountable.
“Territorians can be assured our government is faithfully implementing all of the 135 recommendations of the Independent Scientific Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracturing.
“This water monitoring forms part of just one of those recommendations and will allow the water to be tested for key water quality indicators prior to any exploration approvals for hydraulic fracturing being given.
“The results from this monitoring will build on a range of environmental baseline data being collected as part of implementing the 135 recommendations, including methane monitoring and regional groundwater monitoring being undertaken by CSIRO/GISERA.”
Lauren Butler is the assistant editor for Utility Magazine. She’s based in Melbourne, Australia.