Origin Energy Limited (Origin) today announced it had increased to 70 per cent its share in the Beetaloo Joint Venture in the Northern Territory after acquiring Sasol Petroleum Australia Limited’s (Sasol) 35 per cent share.

“Having recently announced the discovery of a material shale gas resource in the Beetaloo Basin in the Northern Territory, Origin has seized the opportunity to increase its interest in the Beetaloo Joint Venture  by acquiring Sasol’s 35 per cent share,” Origin CEO, Frank Calabria said,.

“Origin would like to recognise Sasol’s contribution to the Beetaloo Joint Venture to date, as it departs the Joint Venture to focus its capital investment on its African and North American footprint.

“The Beetaloo Basin is the Northern Territory’s most prospective onshore basin for shale gas and our test results estimate the joint venture’s contingent resource at a substantial 6.6 TCF of natural gas.

“Along with joint venture partner Falcon Oil & Gas Australia, we look forward to progressing our understanding of the play and maturing the contingent resources to reserves over time, subject to the outcome of the Northern Territory’s inquiry into hydraulic fracturing.

“Recent events have demonstrated how crucial it is for Australia to continue to develop its abundant natural gas resources, in order to provide access to sufficient, affordable gas supply for businesses and homes across the nation.

“As one of the largest natural gas producers on the east coast, Origin will continue to look at opportunities to invest in the safe and responsible development of natural gas resources, such as those in the Beetaloo Basin. Gas will play an important role in the transition to a secure, affordable and cleaner supply of energy for Australia,” Mr Calabria said.

The transaction is subject to the satisfaction of certain conditions. It is not expected to impact on Origin’s short term focus on debt reduction as there are no immediate capital requirements in the Beetaloo.

Located about 500 kilometres south-east of Darwin, the three Beetaloo Joint Venture permits cover an area of more than 18,500 km2 within the Beetaloo Basin.

* BEETALOO JOINT VENTURE

Origin Energy Limited (Operator) **: 70%