Energy: Beetaloo Basin natural gas pilot project complete

February 27, 2024 9:05 AM

The Northern Territory Government has announced that a natural gas pilot project at Shenandoah South in the Beetaloo Sub-basin has been successfully completed.

Tamboran – a key stakeholder in the Beetaloo Sub-basin – released their initial production results from well testing.

Over the first 30-day period of testing, Tamboran’s pilot project at Shenandoah South recorded the highest normalised rates of gas flow achieved in the Beetaloo Basin to date.

These results exhibit the commercial viability of the project, with Tamboran now moving onto the construction phase and have outlined the potential for natural gas to be delivered to the Northern Territory in 2026.

The government said that the Beetaloo Sub-basin on-shore natural gas resource will be at the forefront of the world’s transition to renewable energy and enable a new economic era for the Northern Territory, estimated to increase economic activity by more than $17 billion.

As the project continues to progress, the government said that more work opportunities will become available for Territorians and millions of dollars will be spent in the Territory.

The Northern Territory Government said reaching net zero emissions by 2050 is a key goal, and low C0₂ natural gas is critical to transitioning away from high emissions energy sources, securing energy resources and lowering power bills.

The Beetaloo Sub-basin was at the core of the most comprehensive regional scientific study in Australia’s history, the SREBA. The SREBA was completed alongside a major scientific inquiry into hydraulic fracking to ensure rigorous mechanisms are in place to protect the environment.

Northern Territory Chief Minister, Eva Lawler, said, “The Northern Territory is on the cusp of immense economic growth, and will be at the forefront of the nation’s transition to a net zero future.

“Today’s results released by Tamboran, who are also proponents of the Middle Arm Sustainable Development Precinct, paints a prosperous picture for the Territory as we strive towards a $40 billion economy by ensuring we capitalise on our world class energy resources.

“It is critical we continue to enable growth in this sector, because with growth comes a predicted 13,000 more opportunities for Territorians to work in new sectors, more reliable energy sources, lower emission production and lower power bills,” Ms Lawler said.

Northern Territory Minister for Mining, Mark Monaghan, said, “The Beetaloo Basin has globally significant Natural Gas reserves which will transform clean energy production in Australia.

“Sitting 500km south east of Darwin, are projects which will create multibillion dollar growth to our economy, and Tamboran’s 30-day flow test results is a key step in delivering on this vision.

“We will be the jurisdiction to deliver cheaper, more reliable and lower emissions gas to the rest of Australia for decades to come,” Mr Monaghan said.

Tamboran Chief Executive Officer, Joel Riddle, said, “We are extremely excited to announce the results from the SS-1H well, which are the highest normalised rates achieved in the Beetaloo Basin to date. The normalised flow rates of 6.4MMcf/d over a 1,000m lateral section demonstrate to us the commerciality of the Beetaloo Basin.

“The IP30 result gives us confidence to commence the construction phase of the proposed 40MMcf/d Pilot Project at Shenandoah South under the Beneficial Use of Gas legislation, which allows gas that would otherwise be flared to be sold into the local gas market. These volumes have potential to supply natural gas into the Northern Territory gas market in 1H 2026. Final investment decision is planned for mid-2024.

“Importantly, the rock properties, including reservoir pressure, effective porosity and gas-in-place, have delivered IP30 flow rates and well performance at Shenandoah South in the Beetaloo West that are favourable to production rates in some regions of the Marcellus Shale dry gas window.

“We will continue flow testing of the well over an initial 90 days to allow for an independent analysis of the expected 20-year EUR of the wells in the region. We then expect to commence drilling of the first two development wells for the proposed Pilot Project, which will be the first 10,000-foot wells drilled in the Beetaloo Basin,” Mr Riddle said.

Industry comment

Traditional owners from the Beetaloo Basin expressed concerns about Tamboran Resources’ fracking plans in response to the new flow results and said that they will continue to oppose fracking in a bid to protect Country, water and culture for future generations.

The Nurrdalinji Native Title Aboriginal Corporation, which represents native title holders from the Beetaloo Basin, made a submission opposing Tamboran’s latest plans for 15 wells as part of its Shenandoah South E&A Program EP98 and EP117 Environment Management Plan. The plans are currently before the Northern Territory Government for approval. 

Chair of Nurrdalinji Native Title Aboriginal Corporation, Djingili elder Samuel Janama Sandy, said, “Traditional Owners do not want Tamboran drilling for gas. We worry about fracking poisoning water and leaving nothing for our grandchildren. Tamboran have already been fined for pollution and we can’t trust them to look after Country.

“If we see thousands of fracking wells, then where will we take our grandchildren fishing and hunting? Where will we go if fracking damages Country and pollutes the water?

“Our culture, stories and communities are connected by the waters that flow underground. We can’t afford to risk this, just to fill Tamboran’s pockets with cash.

“We want better health and housing and jobs, but not jobs that involve drilling our country. The sun is free and we should be using that for energy, not the gas,” Mr Sandy said.

Read the full story here.