Globally significant gas reserves in the Beetaloo Sub-basin could propel advanced manufacturing, domestic supply security and cleaner energy production in Australia, while accelerating multibillion dollar growth in the Territory economy, with long-term global gas supply potentials of international significance.
The Beetaloo Sub-basin, 500km south east of Darwin, covers 28,000 square kilometres and is estimated to contain 500 Trillion cubic feet of gas (P50 gas-in-place resource as estimated by industry). That is just for the Velkerri B layer and does not include other known gas bearing geological layers.
Resource estimations are equivalent to more than 1,000 times the current annual domestic consumption in Australia, or the amount of energy required to drive a car 483 million kilometres.
The highly prospective resources of the Beetaloo Sub-basin are being compared to the productive Marcellus Basin in the north east of the United States, and there are other layers and basins yet to be explored.
The estimated gas volumes would be sufficient to service and grow existing LNG export markets, secure domestic gas supply and propel low-emission advanced manufacturing in the Territory.
Current exploration aims to determine recoverable volumes of both wet and dry gas from the Velkerri B layer and Kyalla formation. Studies and industry analysis projecting that development could:
- produce 6,300 jobs by 2040
- increase economic activity between $18.0 billion and $36.8 billion over the same period.
- spur advanced manufacturing opportunities and new low-emission industries in the Territory
- deliver cheaper and more reliable gas across Australia for decades to come
- provide an additional source of gas for Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) export.
Exploration and appraisals continue to show encouraging results. Industry analysis suggests that most exploration will be finalised by 2023 and the Australian Government is working to support accelerated final investment decisions by 2025 or earlier.
To date studies provided for the Australian and Northern Territory Governments have looked at determining the most efficient pathways to market, as well as potential challenges and opportunities for the basins development.
Infrastructure in the Beetaloo Sub-basin will require future development, including new or enlarged gas processing, pipeline infrastructure and enhanced supporting infrastructure (such as road, rail, aviation and utility infrastructure) which will also benefit other users in the region.
The significance of the Beetaloo Sub-basin’s potential is recognised by the Australian Government through the Beetaloo Strategic Basin Plan, the first of five plans to be delivered under the Strategic Basin Plans Program.
The Australian Governments National Gas Infrastructure Plan also emphasises the importance of the Beetaloo in meeting the projected shortfalls in the east coast gas market over the next 20 years.
By working together with the Australian Government, gas operators, and local and Aboriginal communities, the Northern Territory Government can unlock the Beetaloo Sub-basin’s enormous potential and realise thousands of jobs and significant economic growth for Territorians over the next 40 years or more.