Article – Northern Territory fracked gas to flow to eastern states by 2018, Chief Minister says

24 August 2015
Ruby Jones
ABC News

A pipeline that would supply east coast markets with shale gas fracked in the Northern Territory will be up and running by 2018, NT Chief Minister Adam Giles has told the Top End’s business community.

Mr Giles said he was confident the successful bidder for the project would be announced shortly, and gas “would be flowing” by the end of 2018.

Quick facts on the pipeline:

  • What is behind the proposal? Fears of an impending gas shortage in NSW.
  • What would it cost? Anything from $900 million to $1.3 billion, according to Australia’s largest pipeline owner, APA Group.
  • Where would it go? APA is looking at three potential routes: Alice Springs to Moomba (1,100km), Tenant Creek to Mt Isa (620km), and from midway between Alice and Tenant Creek to the Carpentaria Gas Pipeline (700km).
  • Where would gas come from? The Territory Government prefers developing onshore deposits. It says this would create jobs in remote areas. APA Group says more proven reserves have been identified offshore.

He also told an audience of NT business leaders there was no need for a feasibility study into a rail link between the NT and Queensland because they provide reasons not to develop resources.

Hydraulic fracturing — or fracking as it is often called — involves pumping water, sand and chemicals at high pressure to fracture rock layers deep within the earth to extract natural gas.

The practice has been criticised by community and pastoral groups, who say it can contaminate and damage water supplies and destroy viable farm land.

Yet in February, an independent inquiry released the Hawke Report which found “no justification whatsoever” to delay gas extraction.

The NT Government said the Territory has vast reserves of gas but questions have been raised by the business community about whether extracting the gas would be economically feasible.

Mr Giles also said he had commissioned a scoping study to look at a rail line between the Northern Territory and Queensland.

It comes after Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss last month outlined a feasibility study into the rail link, as part of the Northern Australia White Paper.

The scoping study is expected to look at the commercial imperatives and practical ways the NT Government can make a rail line happen.

Mr Giles also announced the NT Government was about to expand the Designations Area Migration Agreement, to allow 500 workers from 80 different occupations to work in the Territory.

“This new agreement will mean a far greater number of businesses will soon be able to recruit staff from overseas,” he said.

At the forum Mr Giles conceded there had been a few “upheavals” leading to the Country Liberals becoming a minority government.

Speaker Kezia Purick quit the party in June, saying it was disconnected with Territorians, and singled out Treasurer Dave Tollner for criticism.

Parliamentary sittings resume tomorrow, with the Government facing the challenge of passing legislation without a majority.


PHOTO: Workers build a gas pipeline in Queensland

Courtesy of ABC News

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