Location of onshore petroleum exploration acreage EP NT 14-1. Image courtesy INPEX.

Location of onshore petroleum exploration acreage EP NT 14-1. Image courtesy INPEX.

INPEX has been awarded the first onshore petroleum exploration acreage in the Northern Territory under the Government’s new competitive tender process.

The EP NT 14-1 acreage consists of 50 blocks of about 400,000 hectares in the Beetaloo basin, about 500 kilometres south east of Darwin, with the nearest town being Daly Waters.

The acreage is crossed by the Amadeus gas pipeline.

INPEX director of Australia ventures Tony Pytte said the company was pleased with the announcement, saying access to the acreage would provide INPEX with additional potential oil and gas resources for development.

“While INPEX’s primary focus remains the delivery of the flagship Ichthys LNG Project, this announcement opens the door to possible greater INPEX investment in the Northern Territory,” he said.

NT chief minister Adam Giles said INPEX’s five year exploration proposal promised to deliver economic benefits and job opportunities for Territorians.

“The acreage became available as a direct result of the Government’s ‘use-it or lose-it’ policy which is aimed at stimulating active exploration of granted land across the Territory,” Mr Giles said.

“This policy is designed to ensure there’s a streamlined approach to accessing land for petroleum exploration and promotes open competition in the industry.”

The award of the block is dependent on the successful completion of an agreement with native title holders, which INPEX said could take up to two years to complete.

“As a global oil and gas exploration and production company we actively pursue new opportunities to fulfil our growth aspirations. We will work hard to see this NT opportunity succeed,” Mr Pytte said.