A seismic survey scoping out the potential for new gas, liquids and other mineral resources in the Northern Territory’s Barkly region has been completed.

The 820km 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.

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, Matt Canavan, said it will pave the way for further resource exploration and jobs.

“The Beetaloo Sub-basin to the north of this region has the potential to deliver 178,000PJ 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,” Mr 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 4,500 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 fraccing 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,” Mr 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,” Mr Canavan said.

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

Charlotte Pordage is Editor of Utility magazine, a position she has held since November 2018. She joined the team as an Associate Editor in October 2017, after sharpening her writing and editing skills across a range of print and digital publications. Charlotte graduated from Royal Holloway, University of London, in 2011 with joint honours in English and Latin. When she's not putting together Australia's only dedicated utility magazine, she can usually be found riding her horse or curled up with a good book.

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