Many millions of dollars are being spent and hundreds of jobs are being created in these early days of the Northern Territory's onshore gas industry.
Two big energy companies, Santos and Origin Energy, are both spending up in their rush to "prove" the gas resource deep below the Beetaloo.
Drill gear is being trucked in from all parts of Australia as the companies rush to beat the wet season.
Junior player Empire Energy has also joined the race and is keen to finish its seismic surveys of the Beetaloo before starting its drilling program after the wet.
Hundreds of jobs have also being created in this opening foray although exactly how many, and how much money is being spent, is largely unknown.
Origin has employed more than 200 people so far on its NT exploration, that we do know.
The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association said while the exploration was still in its early stages, oil and gas companies are looking to maximise opportunities for local businesses and communities.
"Where we can source locally, we are," APPEA's director of exploration and onshore environment Keld Knudsen told Katherine Times.
"This is demonstrated through major civil contracts being awarded in both the Amadeus and Beetaloo/McArthur Basins. The total value of these contracts is in the tens of millions of dollars," he said.
"Industry is also working proactively with contractors to ensure that sub-contracts are awarded to local companies (e.g. Triple P and NT registered water bore drillers)."
APPEA said for example, some locally-sourced contracts include:
- Silver City Drilling - are currently drilled its 14th water bore for Santos since late 2018 - including one for the landholder under the Land Access Agreement. Their head office and workshop in Alice Springs.
- Rusca Brothers in Darwin are supplying the civil works for Santos' wells, and MS contracting in Humpty Doo are supplying the camp.
- Arnhem Earthmoving and Mechanical together with Phillips Earthmoving is providing Origin with civils work associated with the companies next two proposed exploration wells.
- Triple P from Elliot have a contract to provide monitoring services for Origin at all existing well locations as well as maintenance works for the Daly Waters airstrip.
"There are numerous other services that are also locally sourced, including crane hire, food supplies, mechanical services, tyre services, engineering services, waste services and others," Mr Knudsen said.
He said the Beetaloo Basin could be a major natural gas province for the Territory and Australia.
"With successful exploration and appraisal, the development of these resources could secure the Territory's future for decades with the benefits of jobs, local business opportunities, new value-adding industries, infrastructure and community investment.
"This will flow to Darwin, Katherine and regional communities as well as a future self-generating revenue stream by way of royalty payments to the government."
Mr Knudsen said the recently completed hydraulic fracturing inquiry found that around 600 jobs would be generated by a modest onshore gas development based on a development scenario.
"A study undertaken by Deloitte in 2015 found that a larger development could provide a boost to the NT economy of over $17 billion over 20 years, and an additional 4000 jobs by 2040 under the success scenario. The aspirational scenario was as approximately 6000 jobs."
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