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Northern Territory

News

  • 11 May 2021 3:19 PM | Sonia Harvey (Administrator)

    Social, Cultural and Economic SREBA Studies Scope of Works awarded

    The Strategic Regional Environmental and Baseline Assessment (SREBA) Social, Cultural and Economic studies were key recommendations from the Scientific Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracturing in the Northern Territory. It is an important piece of work that continues to be a priority for Government as implementation of remaining recommendations progresses.

    Following an original open tender process carried out in mid-2020, the NT Government has recently engaged The University of Queensland (UQ) through a direct procurement process to complete the Scope of Works for the Social, Cultural and Economic Studies and Strategic Regional Assessment.

    UQ has a skilled and interdisciplinary team, with highly-experienced academics who will be leading this work.  Based in QLD, UQ has committed to working together with NT-based researchers and practitioners, including within regional and remote Aboriginal communities. Likewise, many of the team members have a long history of applied inter-cultural research within the NT.  For additional accountability and to ensure this work is of the highest standard UQ will establish an Expert Advisory Panel.  UQ researchers are committed to principles of integrity, impartiality, accountability and transparency in the conduct of this work.

    The UQ team has been responsible for the development of novel and leading edge approaches, frameworks and toolkits on previous and similar projects in Australia and internationally. They also have a particularly strong background in inter-cultural research and collaborative methods of working with communities and other stakeholders.

    The Scope of Works will require approval by an accredited Human Research Ethics Committee, a process UQ is experienced in. This UQ ethics process ensures that the project remains independent. The final Scope of Works will be presented to the Minister for Environment for approval prior to progressing to the next procurement stage of the studies.

    UQ expects the work associated with developing the Scope of Works including re-engaging with stakeholders to recommence in May 2021.

    Please direct all correspondence to:
    Hydraulic Fracturing Inquiry Implementation Taskforce
    GPO Box 4396, Darwin NT 0801
    T 08 8999 6573
    hydraulic.fracturing@nt.gov.au 
    hydraulicfracturing.nt.gov.au 


  • 27 Apr 2021 4:08 PM | Sonia Harvey (Administrator)

    Beetaloo Regional Reference Group – meeting two Communique

    Meeting Two

    Date: Tuesday, 23 March 2021

    Attendees: in person and online nominated representatives of: Barkly Regional Council, Northern Land Council, Katherine Town Council, Roper Gulf Regional Council, Territory Natural Resource Management, Sturt Plateau Best Practice Group, NT Farmers Association, Department of Environment, Parks and Water Security (DEPWS) staff, Department of Chief Minister and Cabinet (CM&C) staff.

    Apologies: Sunrise Health and Territory Resource Services Association.

    Purpose
    The Beetaloo Regional Reference Group (BRRG) is a consultative forum for community views regarding, and providing input into, the Strategic Regional Environmental and Baseline Assessment (SREBA) studies within the Beetaloo Region.

    Meeting one

    On 14 December 2020, an initial BRRG was held via video conference to introduce members, organise administrative matters and review the Terms of Reference.

    Presentations from SREBA study teams
    • Terrestrial ecosystems studies
    • Water quality and quantity studies
    • Aquatic ecosystems studies
    Discussion on presentations
    • Need for a clear definition that a ‘baseline assessment’ refers to a specific point in time.
    • Baseline report will be made available to stakeholders.
    • A public portal will be made available collating layers of data for use by the community, not solely for gas development purposes but the whole region as it is of interest for economic development.  It will be hosted on the POINT website which was recently established.
    • Spatial layers should be exportable from portal to allow for use by stakeholders.
    • SREBA findings will contribute to Water Allocation Planning.
    • Ensure a planned, coordinated approach to limit duplication of baseline collection and engagement.
    • Previous work undertaken for programs such as Gas Industry Social & Environment Research Alliance (GISERA) and Geological and Bioregional Assessment (GBA) Program are being incorporated where appropriate, with some researchers from these programs also working on specialist SREBA studies.
    Progress and updates
    • A SREBA engagement strategy is being developed and a draft will be shared with the BRRG for feedback and advice.
    • Scopes of work for the terrestrial ecosystem and the water quality and quantity studies are in the final drafting phase.
    • Aquatic ecosystem studies scope of works is in development.
    • Methane and greenhouse gas studies are being developed by CSIRO and the scope of works is expected at the end of April.
    • The social, cultural and economic studies scope of works development will recommence as soon as possible.
    • Environmental health has been awarded to Jacobs Engineering Group (partnering with CSIRO) for the development of the scope of works and is due for completion early June.
    • The scopes of work for each domain are to be approved by the Minister.
    • Planning is underway for the biophysical studies to commence early dry season 2021.
    Other business
    • Chair invited members to nominate guest speakers to attend the BRRG meetings to aid in sharing and gathering information.
    • Concern raised about the consistency between Commonwealth Government messaging around onshore gas development and Northern Territory Government messaging on environmental protection.
    • NLC has had meetings with DEPWS and CM&C regarding assessments of cultural impacts and the design of cultural assessments in consultation with land councils and Traditional Owners (TOs).
    • Chair asked if there were local stakeholders missing from the group which was followed with a discussion regarding the representation of traditional owners on the BRRG, however the group as a whole concluded that the NLC has the role and responsibility for representing local TOs.
    • NLC advised they are already doing consultations about onshore gas and have information meetings happening. They are happy to assist/include other cultural assessment and data collection groups to ensure a targeted approach is actioned to avoid over consultation and confusion within the community.
    • More public communication is required about potential onshore gas developments in the NT.
    View the BRRG meeting two presentation PDF (8.0 MB)  


  • 11 Apr 2021 12:07 PM | Sonia Harvey (Administrator)

    Materials and energy are at the heart of manufacturing. Modernising how we use them is central to building an advanced manufacturing economy.

    Australian manufacturers are well positioned to use our unique natural, industrial and competitive advantages. We can take advantage of this opportunity by combining:

    • innovation
    • abundant clean energy
    • material resources
    • onshore industrial base.

    Learn more about the Recycling and Clean Energy Manufacturing road map 

    Clean Energy info is now available on the website. 


  • 06 Apr 2021 9:39 AM | Sonia Harvey (Administrator)

    The Territory Labor Government is today announcing its strengthened strategy for winning private investment, turbo charging major projects and growing the NT economy.

    Two new leaders – the Territory Investment Commissioner and Major Projects Commissioner - will be appointed. They will have a broad investment mandate and will become key links between industry and government. Each will report directly to the Chief Minister, and have the authority to make recommendations to Ministers and present to Cabinet.

    They will each oversee focussed teams of about 10 specialist staff from Investment Territory, with other surge staff to pivot between the two teams. 

    The commissioners and their teams will build on the work Investment Territory has done over the past 18 months, and actively pursue the investment and business reform needed to achieve the NT Government’s goal of a $40 billion economy by 2030.

    The Territory Investment Commissioner will also oversee a new $5 million fund to partner with industry to find new investment opportunities in the Territory in target sectors such as advanced manufacturing, renewable energy and digital industries.

    Investment attraction will have a single and accountable lead with a bolstered team. The Territory Investment Commissioner and their team will go to the market and win private investment for the Territory.

    The Major Projects Commissioner will be the point of coordination for major projects and make it easier for businesses to navigate approvals and create Territory jobs. The Major Projects Commissioner will recommend additional legislative changes where necessary to make it easier to deliver projects, and will identify legislative powers required to support their role, if needed. The Major Projects Commissioner will oversee the creation and operation of sustainable development precincts, and will chair the newly formed Land Development Corporation Board.

    Both commissioners will provide monthly progress reports to the Chief Minister and twice-yearly reports to Cabinet. An annual report card on the activities and deliverables of each role will be publicly released.

    These roles are being created today. They will be advertised this week. They will be filled immediately with interim appointments to act from today.

    From the Office of the Chief Minister

  • 30 Mar 2021 3:38 PM | Sonia Harvey (Administrator)

    Santos, as operator of the Barossa joint venture, today announced a final investment decision (FID) has been taken to proceed with the US$3.6 billion gas and condensate project, located offshore the Northern Territory.

    Barossa FID also kick-starts the US$600 million investment in the Darwin LNG life extension and pipeline tie-in projects, which will extend the facility life for around 20 years. The Santos-operated Darwin LNG plant has the capacity to produce approximately 3.7 million tonnes of LNG per annum.

    Barossa is one of the lowest cost, new LNG supply projects in the world and will give Santos and Darwin LNG a competitive advantage in a tightening global LNG market. The project represents the biggest investment in Australia’s oil and gas sector since 2012.

    Santos Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Kevin Gallagher said FID on Barossa was consistent with Santos’ strategy for disciplined growth utilising existing infrastructure around the company’s core assets.

    “Our strategy to grow around our five core asset hubs has not changed since 2016. As we enter this next growth phase, we will remain disciplined in managing our major project costs, consistent with our low-cost operating model,” Mr Gallagher said.

    “As the economy re-emerges from the COVID-19 lockdowns, these job-creating and sustaining projects are critical for Australia, also unlocking new business opportunities and export income for the nation. The Barossa and Darwin life extension projects are good for the economy and good for local jobs and business opportunities in the Northern Territory.

    “Barossa and Darwin LNG life extension will create 600 jobs throughout the construction phase and secure 350 jobs for the next 20 years of production at the Darwin LNG facility.

    “Less than a year since we completed the acquisition of ConocoPhillips’ northern Australia and Timor-Leste assets and despite the global economic impact of a once-in-a-hundred-year pandemic, it is a great achievement to have extended the life of Bayu-Undan following the approval of the infill drilling program and now to have taken FID on the Barossa project. I’d like to thank the Australian, Northern Territory and Timor-Leste governments, our joint venture partners and our customers for their support.

    “I am delighted to welcome our Barossa joint venture partner SK E&S as a partner in Bayu-Undan and Darwin LNG and appreciate their support for today’s Barossa development decision.”

    The Barossa development will comprise a Floating Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel, subsea production wells, supporting subsea infrastructure and a gas export pipeline tied into the existing Bayu-Undan to Darwin LNG pipeline. First gas production is targeted for the first half of 2025.

    At the end of last year, Santos announced the tolling arrangements had been finalised for Barossa gas to be processed through Darwin LNG and that Santos had signed a long-term LNG sales agreement with Diamond Gas International, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mitsubishi Corporation, for 1.5 million tonnes of Santos-equity LNG for 10 years with extension options.

    Santos has also signed Memoranda of Understanding with SK E&S and Mitsubishi to jointly investigate opportunities for carbon-neutral LNG from Barossa, including collaboration relating to Santos’ Moomba CCS project, bilateral agreements for carbon credits and potential future development of zero-emissions hydrogen.

    “We will continue to explore the potential for carbon-neutral LNG from Barossa as part of our commitment to lower global emissions and as a company, reach our net-zero emissions target by 2040,” Mr Gallagher said.

    Barossa FID is the final condition required for completion of the 25 per cent equity sell-downs in Darwin LNG and Bayu-Undan to SK E&S, which is also a partner in Barossa. Completion of the SK transaction is expected to occur at the end of April and result in net funds to Santos of approximately US$200 million, being the sale price of US$390 million less the forecast cashflows from the 25 per cent interests from the effective date of 1 October 2019 to completion.

    Santos and JERA continue to progress the binding sale and purchase agreement for JERA to acquire a 12.5 per cent interest in Barossa.

    Completion of the sell-downs to SK E&S and JERA will see Santos’ interests in Bayu-Undan and Darwin LNG change to 43.4 per cent, and in the Barossa project to 50 per cent.

    The Barossa investment decision will see approximately 380 million barrels of oil equivalent resources commercialised to 2P reserves at Santos’ expected 50 per cent interest in the project following the sell-down to JERA.

    https://www.santos.com/news/santos-announces-fid-on-the-barossa-gas-project-for-darwin-lng/ 

  • 30 Mar 2021 2:15 PM | Sonia Harvey (Administrator)
    Information and data about onshore petroleum activities in the Northern Territory (NT) is now easily accessible through a new online portal called POINT .

    POINT is a free mapping tool that includes information relating to proposed and approved activities, including environmental approvals, environment management plans, monitoring data and compliance.

    The portal also includes details about:
    • Our regulatory framework
    • Environment compliance reporting
    • Industry codes of practice and guidelines
    • Geological regions (Basins and Sub-basins)
    • Petroleum titles
    • Petroleum wells
    • Companies with petroleum interests
    • Groundwater monitoring data
    • Related information and resources
    POINT is compatible with existing mapping software such as STRIKE  and NR MAPS .

    A user guide is built into POINT to help you navigate your way across each of the 7 working modes (buttons) that automatically adjust the map layers and search functions.

    The portal works well on PCs, tablets and mobile devices and includes a full list of definitions to help people unfamiliar with the content better understand the information being presented.

    POINT contributes to the Government’s commitment of ensuring transparency in the development and regulation of the onshore petroleum industry so that the environment and jobs are protected.

    Notifying the community that EMPs are open for public comment
    The Department of Environment, Parks and Water Security (DEPWS) is improving the way it publishes onshore petroleum 
    environment management plans  (EMPs) to ensure it reaches a wider audience.

    Under the Petroleum (Environment) Regulations 2016, the Minister for Environment must publish environment management plans relating to drilling or hydraulic fracturing, along with a notice that the plan has been published.

    Previously, notices about the plans have been placed in local newspapers.

    Moving forward, all notices will now be advertised on the 
    NT Government’s Have Your Say website 

    Publishing the notice on Have Your Say is expected to reach a wider audience and increase public awareness that EMPs have been published for comment

    Environment Management Plans have always been and will continue to be published on DEPWS website.

    The benefits of this approach are that:
    • The notice is available online for the full 28 day period that the EMPs are published online:
      • an online notice will ensure a much wider distribution when compared to local newspapers
      • any person that has subscribed to the Have Your Say website will receive a notification that a notice has been published about a new EMP
      • any person that has subscribed to this Community Bulletin will also receive the same notice that goes onto the Have Your Say website, i.e. there is an EMP out for comment.
    Onshore gas companies will still be required to engage with stakeholders, including land councils and pastoralists, before they submit an Environment Management Plan to the Minister.

    A notice with the above information has also been published in various NT newspapers.


  • 25 Mar 2021 2:16 PM | Sonia Harvey (Administrator)
    The Environment Division within the Department of Environment, Parks and Water Security (DEPWS) is responsible for administering the Petroleum (Environment) Regulations under the Petroleum Act.

    The community has asked the regulator how wastewater from petroleum operations is managed during the wet season. This is an important question because of the very high rainfalls this wet season.

    This community bulletin provides an overview of the regulatory framework for wastewater management and describes how officers in the Environment Division ensure compliance with the legal requirements.

    Wastewater Management in the Beetaloo Sub-basin

    All wastewater generated as part of an onshore petroleum activity must be managed in accordance with an approved Environment Management Plan and the Code of Practice: Onshore Petroleum Activities in the Northern Territory (the Code).

    The Code requires that wastewater from hydraulic fracturing is stored in enclosed tanks constructed above the ground (unless the wastewater is being treated for reuse or disposal). The Code also requires that the above-ground tanks are monitored daily during the wet season. 

    To ensure the best overall environmental outcomes are achieved, interest holders are required to implement a range of measures to reduce the risk of overtopping during the wet season. For example:
    • Wastewater tank pads must be located above 1 in 100 year flood levels and fitted with leak detection and secondary bunding in the event the tank fails
    • There must be a gap between the water level and the top of the tank (called “freeboard”) to accommodate a 1 in 1000 year rainfall event of 90 days. In the Beetaloo the freeboard should be around 1.5m
    • The interest holder must have capacity to transfer wastewater into above-ground covered tanks at least 8 hours in advance of any predicted significant rainfall event to ensure minimum freeboard is maintained in the open tanks. The pumping transfer equipment must be tested by the interest holder to ensure it works
    • All wastewater storage tanks must be fitted with level monitoring telemetry that reports back to the interest holder and is actively managed to ensure the minimum freeboard is maintained.
    Authorised DEPWS officers have conducted inspections at all sites where there has been hydraulic fracturing activities before, during and following the activities. Inspectors verified that hydraulic fracturing chemicals were removed from site following activities and that wastewater was managed in accordance with the Environment Management Plan and the Code.

    Images:
    Tank construction 
    Covered tanks 
    Flood Modelling 


  • 24 Mar 2021 2:24 PM | Sonia Harvey (Administrator)

    A message from  Women in Resources NT

    This year we welcome a new category, the Technical Innovation Award. We encourage any organisation or woman who has developed an innovative process and/or technology that has improved how we work, deliver and engage in the NT's resources sector to share your story by nominating in this new award.

    We encourage all of our members, associates and industry partners to get behind our exceptional NT women in resources, and nominate a well deserving woman in our industry for an award today!

    Key Dates:

    Friday 12/2/2021Nominations Open

    Monday 5/4/2021Nominations Close

    Friday 23/4/2021Judging Concludes

    Friday 30/4/2021Finalists Announced

    Friday 11/6/2021Gala Awards Dinner

    https://www.wir.org.au/copy-of-2020-women-in-resources-gal-1

  • 18 Mar 2021 12:35 PM | Sonia Harvey (Administrator)

    Joint media release with Northern Territory Senator Dr Sam McMahon

    Australia’s gas-fired recovery has taken another step forward with the launch of new grants to support further exploration of the Northern Territory’s Beetaloo Basin.

    Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt said $50 million in grants will be provided through the Beetaloo Cooperative Drilling Program.

    “The program is expected to deliver approximately 10 additional exploration wells in the Beetaloo by 2022, and bring forward at least $150 million of private investment from companies.

    “This Commonwealth grants program will support gas operators to speed up exploration and development of the Beetaloo Basin,” Minister Pitt said.

    “These grants are a key component of our Government’s agenda to bring gas from this world class resource into the market by at least 2025. 

    “The Beetaloo Cooperative Drilling Program is part of the Beetaloo Strategic Basin Plan and the Government’s $224 million commitment to the Beetaloo,” Minister Pitt said.

    Senator for the Northern Territory, Dr Sam McMahon, says it will be a major local economic driver.

    “The Plan is expected to generate significant development in the Top End, creating up to 6,000 jobs over the next 20 years and helping Australia remain a world leader in gas,” Senator McMahon said.

    “This investment by the Morrison-McCormack Government will provide new opportunities for thousands of Territorians and ensure the NT can emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic in a strong position.”

    The Beetaloo Cooperative Drilling Program will provide grants of between $750,000 and $7.5 million, up to a total of $50 million, to gas companies to support exploration that occurs before 30 December 2022.

    For more information on the Plan, visit the Unlocking the Beetaloo: The Beetaloo Strategic Basin Plan report on the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources website.

    Media contacts: 

    Minister Pitt's office 02 6277 7180

    Senator McMahon's office 02 6277 3643

    https://www.minister.industry.gov.au/ministers/pitt/media-releases/new-grants-unlock-beetaloo-basin-potential 

  • 26 Feb 2021 12:32 PM | Sonia Harvey (Administrator)

    The potential for large-scale solar generation to transform the energy landscape in Northern Australia has been recognised by the Australian Government’s independent infrastructure advisor, Infrastructure Australia.

    The initiative, proposed by Australian renewable energy company Sun Cable, was today included in Infrastructure Australia’s Annual Infrastructure Priority Initiative List, joining 3 other projects within the NT.

    Specifically, Infrastructure Australia has recognised the opportunity that the Northern Territory has to produce large-scale renewable energy due to its large land mass, solar resource and proximity to energy intense markets in the Indo-Pacific region.

    This presents an opportunity to harness the Northern Territory’s competitive advantage by developing large-scale, dispatchable renewable energy generation, supported by transmission infrastructure to supply domestic and export markets.

    The aim of its priority project list is to highlight a pipeline of nationally significant infrastructure projects and promote government and private sector investment in critical infrastructure with strong economic and community benefits.

    As Infrastructure Australia notes in the Priority List, “In light of the planned retirement of some Northern Territory gas-powered generators, large-scale solar energy generation and storage may provide an opportunity to enhance generation for the Darwin-Katherine Integrated System, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce electricity prices, which currently are subsidised by the Northern Territory Government.”

    Northern Territory Chief Minister, Michael Gunner welcomed the inclusion of large-scale solar generation on the priority project list saying “Sun Cable’s Australia-ASEAN Power Link project will see up to $8 billion invested in the Territory – a massive boost for local jobs and businesses and will make the Territory a renewable energy superpower.”

    “Renewable energy from Sun Cable delivered at scale into Darwin will be the catalyst for growth in existing and emerging industries, including low-emissions manufacturing and zero-emissions data centres and digital services, Michael Gunner said.

    Welcoming the Infrastructure Australia announcement, Sun Cable CEO, David Griffin said “there is an opportunity to harness abundant renewable energy resources for domestic electricity supply, growing Australia’s capacity to contribute to the whole global value chain of renewable electricity, including zero emissions manufacturing, as well as creating an intercontinental renewable electricity transmission export industry for Australia,” he said.

    Placing this on the Infrastructure Priority is consistent with the 2019 Australian Infrastructure Audit, which found that Australia could develop new industries based on affordable and abundant new sources of energy, including large-scale solar and wind.

    “Sun Cable’s vision is to create a world-class renewable electricity grid across the Indo-Pacific region, which will decouple economic growth from global greenhouse gas emissions,” Mr Griffin said.

    Sun Cable’s Australia-ASEAN Power Link (AAPL) project has Major Project Status with the Australian and Northern Territory Governments. Sun Cable signed a Project Development Agreement with Hon Michael Gunner, Chief Minister and the Hon Eva Lawler, Minister for Renewables and Energy, and Infrastructure on Thursday 28 January. It is working on a Territory Benefits Plan.

    The 70-year, $22B project will generate, store and transmit renewable electricity to Australian and overseas markets. This will create about 1500 jobs during construction and 350 during operations.

    The project includes:

    ● 13 GW solar farm (the world’s largest) on a 12,000-hectare site at Powell Creek, near Elliott in the NT

    ● 27 GWh of critical battery storage (the world’s largest) at the solar farm, in Darwin and in Singapore

    ● a high voltage direct current (HVDC) submarine transmission cables from Darwin to Singapore, via Indonesia

    ● a 750-kilometre overhead transmission line from the solar farm to Darwin

    The Australia ASEAN Power Link financial close will be in late 2023, with the first electricity to Darwin by 2026 and Singapore from 2027.

    Sun Cable will now pursue the next stage of the process with Infrastructure Australia, identifying the proposed solution and providing details including the business case.

    Project and initiative summaries for the Infrastructure Australia Priority List are detailed here: https://www.infrastructureaustralia.gov.au/sites/default/files/2021-02/IFA_301237_2021%20Infrastr ucture%20Priority%20List%20FA2%20Navigable%20WEB%20Flat%20EXT%20FINAL.pdf

    Media contact:

    Jane Munday, True North Strategic Communication, 0427 880 083

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