A second energy company has won NT Government permission to begin fracking for shale gas.
Origin Energy will follow Santos in resuming their exploration of the Beetaloo, again the Daly Waters region.
It is less than a month since the government approved Santos' application to continue exploratory drilling, in a similar area of the Beetaloo.
Both energy companies are confident there is a large gas resource many kilometres deep within the shales.
Origin and Santos first want to see how much gas is there, and then consider whether it makes economic sense to launch a whole new industry in the NT.
Origin today joined Santos in passing all the regulatory hurdles established since drilling was stopped in 2016.
Origin has received approval for the second Environmental Management Plan to be awarded for onshore shale gas exploration since the moratorium was lifted in early 2018.
Those opposed to fracking, led by Protect Country Alliance, said Origin's permission did not come from a public statement like Santos, which as first, but by a new addition to a government website.
The website lists the approval as having been granted more than a week ago.
Origin plans to drill, use "hydraulic fracture stimulation" and test its well on its mining lease country east of Daly Waters.
Protect Country Alliance spokesperson Graeme Sawyer said the majority of Territorians remained opposed to fracking, and for many, the fight was just beginning as the reality of rigs rolling into communities hits home.
Origin's Environment Management Plan for its Kyalla drilling project was approved on August 13, however only appeared on the government's EMP website today, the group claimed.
Heather Wilson, a Jingulu elder from Elliott whose land the Origin well is planned for, said she was disgusted by the announcement.
"It shouldn't be happening at all because it will destroy our country," she said.
An Origin Energy spokesman said: We work with the Northern Land Council to ensure we are engaging with the Traditional Owners who are the Native Title holders that may legally and culturally make decisions about the areas within our exploration permits where activity is proposed. The Northern Land Council are the statutory body responsible for determining who the rightful Native Holders are for Origin to consult and work with each year.
"During the past twelve months, Origin has worked with the Northern Land Council and the Native Title holders to complete Sacred Site Clearance and Avoidance surveys, secured Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority certification for nine potential exploration locations including this one, and recently participated in seven on-country meetings with Native Title holder families where we explained our current exploration work and the controls we put in place to protect water, land and the environment.:
The government says the delay is an approved part of the notification process.
Environment and Natural Resources Minister Eva Lawler said: "Our environment is important and the Territory Labor Government understands that it is a large part of what makes living in the Northern Territory so special.
"As a Government, we are restoring trust and certainty through the implementation of a robust, clear and transparent set of rules and guidelines on how the environment must be protected - good environment policy is smart economic policy.
"Providing the community with a legislative right to have their say on an EMP relating to drilling or fracking is helping to restore trust and transparency - a process that did not exist under the previous CLP government."
The approved EMP was prepared with reference to the NT Petroleum (Environment) Regulations 2016 and the Code of Practice: Onshore Petroleum Activities in the Northern Territory.
The approved EMP and a statement of reasons for the decision can now be viewed at www.denr.nt.gov.au/onshore-gas.
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