Japan eyeing Beetaloo gas following regulatory changes

JAPAN is looking at the Beetaloo Sub-basin following the Northern Territory’s decision to lift the fraccing moratorium last year.
Japan eyeing Beetaloo gas following regulatory changes Japan eyeing Beetaloo gas following regulatory changes Japan eyeing Beetaloo gas following regulatory changes Japan eyeing Beetaloo gas following regulatory changes Japan eyeing Beetaloo gas following regulatory changes

Paul Hunt

Senior Journalist: Energy & Commodities

Paul Hunt


This week the Northern Territory's resources minister Paul Kirby has been in Japan for the first time, to shore up support for future exploration and production in the Territory from Japanese businesses and investors.

Kirby attended the Australia-Japan Joint Business Conference, meeting with executives from Osaka Gas, Inpex, Mitsubishi, the Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation as well as government officials.

Woodside CEO Peter Coleman addressed the event earlier this week.

The minister's message is clear: the Territory is open for business.

Speaking to Energy News today Kirby said the trip had been a "great success" and that investment confidence is high.

"Everyone is very confident and happy with our relationship. Our role has been thanking Japan and its investors for their input, and making sure that their next decisions, whether it is onshore gas development or mineral development, are not too far down the track," Kirby said.

"If they're thinking their next big investment in the Territory might be a long way away, we will support them to bring those projects forward.

"We have the capacity to make connections for them in different opportunities [including] through joint venture agreements that might result in projects getting off the ground sooner rather than later."

One area that has sparked a great deal of interest from Japan has been the Northern Territory's decision to lift the fraccing moratorium.

"There certainly is a large interest in some areas of the Beetaloo. Inpex for instance already has a permit down there and we are continuing to have discussions with them to encourage investment sooner rather than later," he said.  

"I think companies in Japan were very happy to see Santos and Origin work their way through our new regulations and acquire permits. They've done all that now and they drilling away as we speak.

"It is now a crucial time to make sure that we are in the faces of potential Japanese decision makers and business people who are looking at projects in the Beetaloo.

"Anything that we can do to put in front of them opportunities to invest again in the Northern Territory.

"Japan is always discussing their next investment, and our job is to highlight opportunities and make sure they understand how much we appreciate their investments and offer them all the help we can.

 "We have plenty of land, plenty of gas, and plenty of sun. This has been great for our discussions on hydrogen going into the future.

"Ichthys was the largest investment from Japan outside of its country. It's important for us to show Japan and the rest of the world that the Northern Territory has the capacity to punch above our weight.

"We're a small place but have the capacity to be a significant player in a global energy context into the future."