This page belongs to: Beetaloo Strategic Basin Plan

Action 1: Building a clear picture of the Beetaloo

The first step towards developing the Beetaloo resource is for gas operators to finalise their exploration activities.

To accelerate this and support informed decision making, the government has already:

  • commissioned a $0.7 million Beetaloo Development study
  • co-funded (with the NT Government) a $0.5 million Infrastructure Requirements analysis

With the new funding in the Beetaloo Strategic Basin Plan, we are:

  • establishing a $50 million Beetaloo Cooperative Drilling Program
  • collaborating with the NT Government to address barriers to finalising exploration and appraisal activities

Commercial investment decisions need a better understanding of the resource. However, results from recent drilling have been promising.

Exploration and appraisal efforts in the Beetaloo have experienced delays. These delays have largely been due to a moratorium on gas development and workforce restrictions associated with COVID-19.

Uncertainty in the global energy outlook is affecting green-field gas investment. The need to manage balance sheets in response to the pandemic has shifted some companies’ priorities away from exploration.

Independent economic modelling commissioned by the government, found that there is an optimal timeframe for Beetaloo development. Meeting this window of maximum commercial opportunity relies on speeding up resource understanding.

The Beetaloo Cooperative Drilling Program will provide a $50 million incentive for explorers to drive accelerated exploration in the Beetaloo. This will support up to $200 million of exploration activity.

The scheme will grant operators a 25% refund on eligible exploration and development expenditure. Activities must have occurred prior to 30 June 2022.

In 2018, the Australian and the NT Governments signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to expand the NT’s gas industry. It includes supporting the development of the Beetaloo as a new world-class gas province.

We commit to refreshing this MoU to reflect recent developments including the measures in this plan.

The government will establish new MoU parameters. They will focus on identifying and addressing practical impediments to finalising exploration work. Additional resources will support implementation of this MoU.

Through the MoU, the government, in partnership with the NT Government, will facilitate regular cross government and industry forums. Close industry collaboration is essential to the successful development of the Beetaloo.

Overcoming obstacles early will help the timely delivery of exploration activities and ensure the resource potential is realised sooner.