The report of the independent inquiry, commissioned by the NT Government, recommends that the environmental risks associated with hydraulic fracturing can be managed effectively subject to the creation of a robust regulatory regime.
“It is not yet known from the exploratory drilling programs whether commercial quantities of shale gas exist,” Inquiry Commissioner Dr Allan Hawke AC said.
“In the event that there are exploitable opportunities, then it will take some years to turn them into production outcomes.”
The report goes on to state that the substantive weight of agreed expert opinion leads the inquiry to find that there is no justification whatsoever for the imposition of a moratorium of hydraulic fracturing in the NT.
Industry backs findings
Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) Director – NT Steven Gerhardy said the report appeared to offer a sensible blueprint for the safe and responsible development of what could be an important new industry.
“Shale gas has the potential to provide much-needed jobs, investment and improved infrastructure in remote and regional areas,” Mr Gerhardy said.
“Royalties from shale gas could also become an important new source of revenue for the NT, increasing financial certainty for future governments and reducing their reliance on Canberra.”
Mr Gerhardy said Dr Hawke had produced a comprehensive and credible report that was a victory for science over scaremongering.
He urged activists who had campaigned for an inquiry into hydraulic fracturing to accept the inquiry’s findings.
Click here to view the NT inquiry into hydraulic fracturing report.