NT gas exploration permit rejected

Palatine Energy has been refused an exploration permit in the Northern Territory’s Watarrka National Park on the grounds that it conflicts with the Territory’s new exploration guidelines announced last week.

In its new guidelines, the Northern Territory Government has advised that it will not grant acreage release and exploration permits where there is a land use conflict. This means areas of agriculture, high ecological value, cultural significance, urban living or significant importance to residential zones or are off limits.

Mines and Energy Minister David Tollner said “Government recently implemented these new measures, on top of its already robust regulations, to ensure onshore oil and gas activities can proceed alongside other land usages in a safe and sustainable manner.”

The NT Government also announced that an application to explore the Coomalie Council Region made by NT Gas would be refused on the same grounds of not satisfying all of the recently announced criteria.

“The NT Government understands the sensitivities associated with allowing exploration activities in the region and hasn’t taken this decision lightly,” Mr Tollner said.

Minister for Parks and Wildlife Bess Price said “I am satisfied that the consultation process our government has implemented is working. I am supportive of this decision and feel confident that all key stakeholders including Traditional Owners have been heard.”

Palatine Energy has previously been permitted to explore the Amadeus, Western Officer, and North Perth basins, as well as the Arauco Basin in Chile, since the company’s founding in 2011.

The news comes in the wake of the North East Interconnector pipeline being awarded an operator and construction contractor, namely in Jemena and McConnell Dowell respectively. The 650 km pipeline will pass through the Northern Territory and is set to open up vast areas of previously unexplored land for oil and gas production.

Palatine Energy has been approached for comment.

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