A plan has been revealed for a tax-payer funded pipeline to transport gas from the Amadeus Basin in the Northern Territory to the east coast. Gas is a fossil fuel which produces methane emissions and speeds up climate change. The push for a gas-driven recovery subsidised by the Australian public goes against expert advice on our nation’s energy future.
- The 950-kilometre pipeline is expected to cost at least $1.2 billion and is asking for taxpayer support to continue.
- Any new fossil fuel project is inconsistent with the Northern Territory’s Climate Change Response which seeks to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, and the global goals set by the Paris Agreement and ratified by Australia
- The global climate crisis can only be addressed by urgently reducing emissions.
- In addition to causing greenhouse gas emissions and speeding up climate change, hydraulic fracturing is unsafe and puts the health of our communities and precious groundwater at risk.
- Northern Territory communities are strongly opposed to onshore shale gas - there is no social license for fracking in the Territory.
Amadeus to Moomba - a pipeline to increased fracking
The planned pipeline route. Graphic: Central Petroleum Lim
The proposed 950-kilometre pipeline would run between the Amadeus Basin near Alice Springs and Santos' Moomba gas plant in South Australia's north and is being planned by Central Petroleum, Macquarie and Hong Kong-owned Cheung Kong Group.
Central Petroleum currently operates three gas fields in the Northern Territory (Mereenie, Palm Valley, and Dingo) and have identified 115 potential targets (65 gas and 50 oil) in the Amadeus Basin that could become part of their well drilling program [source].
The pipeline would make new hydraulic fracturing drilling projects more likely and may also support the development of dangerous underground coal gasification in the region which is banned in Queensland.
No social licence for another pipeline in the Territory
There is strong community opposition to fracking in the Northern Territory and residents and community groups have repeatedly spoken out against the contamination of water, the destruction of land and the health risks posed by hydraulic fracturing.
"It’s an issue of water security, environmental impacts and degradation of landscapes. It’s not economical and that’s been proven."
When China’s energy conglomerate, Jemena, was approved to build the Northern Territory Gas Pipeline from Tennant Creek to Mt Isa in 2015, Traditional Owners, environmental groups and local people came together to oppose the pipeline and voice their concerns about the detrimental impacts of this dangerous industry.
Yet despite the public outcry and analysis showing a weak economic case for the project, the Northern Territory Gas Pipeline was completed in 2018. The project resulted in only a very small number of local jobs created for the region.
The NT to Moomba pipeline will be much more technically challenging than the Northern Gas Pipeline route.
A gas-led recovery only helps the gas industry
The NT to Moomba pipeline is among the controversial new developments being suggested for government support by the National Covid-19 Coordination Commission. The NCCC is also pushing for the "cutting of red and green tape" to fast track approvals on risky projects such as the Narrabri Gas Project in NSW, which has the potential to endanger critical water supplies, farmland and threatened species.
The Nation COVID-19 Commission (Advisory Board) chair Neville Power is a former mining executive and one of the leading advocates for a taxpayer-funded, gas-led economic recovery in Australia. Conflict of interest issues arising from a task force stacked with gas-reps has been raised by a number of concerned groups 2.
The gas agenda of the Commission is putting Territorians at risk of being stranded with expensive fossil fuel infrastructure at a time when the global gas industry is in decline, putting the economics of a “gas-led” recovery into serious question.
Building a $1.2 billion pipeline to transport gas from the NT to the east coast at the public’s expense will do little to support the NT economy while increasing out risk to climate change and threatening our groundwater.
A solar-powered future
Renewable energy is the cheaper, more efficient way to power our homes and businesses. A renewable-led recovery will create more jobs and future-proof our economy by tapping into our world-class solar and wind resources.
Read the Environment Centre NT's plan to Repower the NT with renewables.