The Beetaloo is a low emitter of greenhouse gases.
Only small amounts of the worst greenhouse gas methane have been found in the key fracking area of the NT.
The low quantities are as you would expect in rural areas, scientists said.
A team of scientists has been scouring the Beetaloo basin searching for methane as part of the development of an onshore gas industry.
The background levels of the hazardous methane have now been plotted by CSIRO'S Gas Industry Social and Environmental Research Alliance.
The alliance is made off of government although anti-fracking groups have also pointed out that gas explorers are also members.
"Some studies conducted in the USA have suggested that the hydraulic fracturing process could potentially be a significant source of methane," the alliance report found.
The only methane spikes they found were identified as grazing cattle, townships, fires, termites, wetlands and a small section of above-ground pipeline.
The study is a response to community fears of the expected rise in greenhouse gases from a new onshore gas industry.
Methane is the one of the world's worst greenhouse gases.
The study provides baseline data on background methane levels and groundwater characteristics.
The public called for the study to set a baseline so to better measure any spikes of methane from development of an gas industry later on.
One key document suggests the shale gas industry could lift Australia's greenhouse gases as much as three per cent.
The NT Government last week said it was still negotiating with the Federal Government on a way to provide a trade off from any rise in greenhouse gas production from shale gas.
The NT Government has set an a long-term "aspirational" target of net zero emissions by 2050.
The Beetaloo Sub-basin lies south-east of Katherine, spanning an area of about 30,000 square kilometres.
These studies address community concerns about fugitive methane emissions and potential groundwater impacts by providing detailed information about methane and groundwater before development occurs.
These studies also fulfil recommendations 7.8 and 9.3 of the NT Government's 2018 final report of the Scientific Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracturing in the Northern Territory for the Beetaloo Sub-basin.
GISERA director Dr Damian Barrett said the science would inform appropriate policy and resource management decisions by the Government in relation to proposed shale gas exploration activities.
"The results of these baseline studies into background methane levels and groundwater characteristics are important because the Territory is one of the few places in the world where these baselines can be developed before virtually any natural gas exploration or development has occurred," Dr Barrett said.
"In particular, the groundwater study has helped improve understanding of the recharge mechanism of the Cambrian Limestone Aquifer in onshore gas exploration permit areas."
CSIRO researchers travelled more than 15,000 kilometres over 29 days during the 2018 dry and fire seasons and the 2019 wet season using specially-equipped vehicles to measure various sources of methane emissions.
Average atmospheric methane concentration across the survey area ranged from 1.80 to 1.82 parts per million - equivalent to the background concentration of approximately 1.80 ppm expected in rural or natural areas.
Each survey observed isolated sources of slightly elevated methane concentrations in some areas.
These were identified as grazing cattle, townships, fires, termites, wetlands and a small section of above-ground pipeline.
Methane emission rates from large fires (common in the region at some times of the year) are likely to be more significant but are challenging to quantify using mobile surveys.
No elevated methane concentrations were detected at petroleum wells and water bores.
Groundwater baseline measurements focussed on the regionally important Cambrian Limestone Aquifer and sampled groundwater from 25 water bores.
Geochemical analysis revealed groundwater is suitable for irrigation and livestock purposes, and that concentrations of metals and hydrocarbon compounds are within Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (2017).
These studies were approved through GISERA's Territory Regional Research Advisory Committee in which community members have majority control.
GISERA is a collaboration between CSIRO, Commonwealth and state governments and industry established to undertake publicly-reported independent research.
The purpose of GISERA is for CSIRO to provide quality assured scientific research and information to communities living in gas development regions focusing on social and environmental topics.
The governance structure for GISERA is designed to provide for and protect research independence and transparency of research outputs.
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