AUSTRALIA’s leading petroleum industry body has hit back at Territory Alliance leader Terry Mills’ promise to ban fraccing in the jurisdiction if his fledgling party wins a balance of power in the upcoming election in late August.
Mills is a former Chief Minister and was pro-fraccing when in power but has since swung in a 180 to attack the practice, suggesting it is not supported by a majority of Territorians and that the government has already over $94 million subsidising the gas industry with no return.
He has said "Access Economics have identified nearly $100 million of NT taxpayer money already spent on this with no return".
Mills published a public letter in late June which said "there is no social license for fraccing".
"No more production permits will be issued, existing exploration licences will not be renewed and current operations will be subject to tough community and environmental safeguards," Mills wrote.
The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association sent its own four-page letter to Mills Tuesday outlining the benefits of the gas industry, its centrality to Top End power supply and contesting many of the allegations he has made.
"Even if the government did spend $94 million subsididing the industry, some of it would have happened on his watch," APPEA Northern Territory director Keld Knudsen told Energy News today.
"Back of the envelope calculations we've done actually suggest industry has spent $500 million already onshore," he said.
APPEA maintains the report the former chief minister refers to is not from Access Economics but rather one commissioned by anti fraccing group Lock the Gate and prepared by think tank The Australia Institute.
The letter says that the Access Economics report it has read said "a report by that consultancy in relation to NT gas found that contrary to your assertions, a successful onshore gas development could provide a boost to the NT economy of over $17 billion over 20 years, and an additional 4,000 jobs under their "success" scenario".
That is far from "no return" were wells in the frontier Beetaloo Sub-basin successful.
"It's $94 million over ten years on anything related to gas. There was some research around diesel-to-gas. It's clearly not a subsidy," Knudsen said today.
Currently Santos and Origin Energy are the largest players in the Beetaloo, however Empire Energy also holds a vast swathe of leaseage across the region.
Until now, the Michael Gunner Labor government has been very supportive of the oil and gas industry, moving to slash red and green tape in an effort to boost exploration and keep the domestic economy afloat.
In May the Territory government announced a new Economic Reconstruction Commission, headed up by leading business figures, to slash red tape, create jobs and attract investment from the oil and gas sector.
Source: Energy News Bulletin
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