The protest group has condemned Origin Energy among other operators in the Beetaloo Basin, claiming that companies are hiding plans to frac shale oil and are misleading the public.
The basis for this seems to be the descriptor ‘liquids-rich gas', which was not explicitly defined during the Rachel Pepper-led scientific inquiry into fraccing that lifted the moratorium last year but imposed 135 recommendations for its safe practice.
"This is a case of resource companies and the NT (Michael) Gunner government pulling the wool over the eyes of NT residents," Lock the Gate coordinator Jesse Hancock said in a statement.
"Fracking companies can call it by any name they want but it's shale oil, and oil presents a much greater risk to communities, especially in terms of transportation," Hancock said.
The existence of oil in the Beetaloo is well known and there is little subterfuge around going it after - plenty want to - but Lock the Gate has conflated gas plays with separate oil ones in this case.
Origin told the Katherine Times that Lock the Gate have "simply misunderstood the phrase ‘liquids rich' gas."
Origin plans to appraise the liquids rich Kyalla shale Velkerri shale formations for liquids rich gas this year and also has an interest in developing the Hayfield Sanstone oil and condensate play.
The claims by Lock the Gate come as Federal resources minister Matt Canavan told reporters at a press conference in Darwin that the Beetaloo Basin remained the "best immediate prospect" for domestic oil production.
"[The Beetaloo Basin] could help return us to self-sustainability in oil, which is very important for our national security," Canavan said, who has said the same of the offshore Great Australian Bight.
Last year at the APPEA conference in Adelaide, Canavan said that longer term the Beetaloo Basin could not only provide gas security but also liquid fuel security.
"There is a lot of interest in the Beetaloo Basin. Some of my geologists think that it could be as prospective as some of the shale fields in the United States.
"That of course means there could be a lot of gas, but there also could be significant discoveries of oil too. The latest estimates reckon that 1 billion barrels of oil could be discovered but more could be found once exploration starts," he said.