The first well, since the Northern Territory's Chief Minister lifted a three year moratorium on onshore gas exploration, has been drilled in the Beetaloo Basin.
There has been a big rush for the two giant energy companies, Santos and Origin Energy, to "prove" gas resources deep below the Beetaloo, before the wet season kicks in.
The Beetaloo basin is home to vast Northern Territory oil and gas rich shale fields, Origin's exploration permits in the Beetaloo Basin cover an 18,500 square km area.
Minister for Primary Industry and Resources Paul Kirby said the successful drilling of the Kyalla 117 well, as part of Origin's Beetaloo Exploration Program, was a milestone.
"The Territory Labor Government's focus on creating local jobs and supporting local businesses is being delivered from day one of Origin's new drilling in the Beetaloo," he said.
Millions of dollars are being spent and the Government says hundreds of jobs are being created in these early days of the industry.
The NT Government has also maintained it will work with the Australian Government to ensure there is no net increase in the lifecycle emissions emitted in Australia from any onshore shale gas produced.
"Our regulatory framework allows for investment in this emerging industry while protecting our environment," Mr Kirby said.
Kyalla 117 is the first of two new wells to be drilled to help the energy companies determine the potential of resources in the Beetaloo Basin.
The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association told the Katherine Times the NT's onshoregas industry could play a vital role in revitalising the Territory's economy.
"The resumption of on-ground work in the Beetaloo Basin today is a major milestone and follows a strong industry commitment to increased community and political engagement in recent years," APPEA's director of exploration and onshore environment Keld Knudsen said.
"The Northern Territory's onshore gas industry is looking forward to getting back to work after three years of minimal activity and exploration."
He said the industry remains committed to working with local businesses and the NT Government "to maximise opportunities for employment while making a meaningful low-carbon contribution to future energy needs".
Only 50 Territorians have been employed during this early exploration stage, according to a government statement today.
But this is expected to increase as the project progresses and, if successful, moves into production.
Origin says it has regulatory approval for its Environmental Management Plans related to the well and is required to comply with strict regulatory standards set out in the recommendations of the Independent Scientific Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracturing.
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