Exploration to begin for onshore gas

All recommendations in Table 16.1 of the Scientific  Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracturing’s (Inquiry) final report have now been  completed. This means the Northern Territory Government can assess applications  for drilling of petroleum wells and hydraulic fracturing.

Government has also implemented the Inquiry’s recommendation  about no-go zones (reserved blocks).

The Inquiry determined there should be areas that are off limits  to any petroleum activities due to these areas’ unique values or their  important role in providing environmental, social, health and cultural benefits  to surrounding communities.

The areas to be  declared as reserved blocks under s9 of the Petroleum Act are: areas of  high tourism value, towns and residential areas (including areas that have  assets of strategic importance to nearby residential areas), national parks,  conservation reserves, areas of high ecological value, areas of cultural  significance and Indigenous Protected Areas.

The declaration of no-go zones under the Petroleum Act will  occur in a staged process, with 49% of the Territory identified to be protected  from petroleum activity.  Eighty seven areas will be declared Reserved Blocks as a priority  as part of Tranche 1 of declaring areas no go zones.  This is about 11% of  the NT. The remaining areas  for declaration (Tranche 2, 3 and 4) requires notifications to park or  reserve’s Board of Management, negotiation with a petroleum company if the area  interacts with a granted exploration permit and consultation with Land Councils  [respectively].

The Petroleum Reserved Block Policy, areas to be declared and  maps containing this detail is available from the NT Government website.

The Monitoring  and Compliance Strategy has also been released which  outlines how key Government agencies will undertake active compliance,  monitoring and surveillance to detect any non-compliances in the gas industry.

For information on progress towards the implementation of each  of the 135 recommendations from the Inquiry – including the completion of the  31 recommendations required for exploration – go to the Hydraulic Fracturing website.

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