A new report by EJA, Fracking the Northern Territory, examines a recent scientific inquiry into hydraulic fracturing in the NT and finds the inquiry defied its terms of reference to arrive at a palatable solution for industry. The inquiry concluded that serious and otherwise unacceptable climate change risks could be managed – and that it was up to government to determine how to manage the risks.

Following the scientific inquiry, in April 2018 the NT government lifted its popular fracking moratorium. Lifting the moratorium is likely to play well for Jemena, the Chinese-Singapore-owned company building the Northern Gas Pipeline from the NT to Queensland. Jemena admits to discussions with the NT government prior to the decision to lift the moratorium. And the company has now secured an exemption from new, stricter national gas rules after ‘working’ with the NT government.  A recent report by Jemena’s parent company boldly states, “Management successfully worked with the Northern Territory Government to secure a derogation from the [National Gas] Rules for the Northern Gas Pipeline.”

EJA lawyer David Barnden told the ABC the exemption from the national gas rules, coupled with the fracking moratorium being lifted, gives Jemena “essentially a licence to print money for gas going through the Northern Gas Pipeline, and it means Jemena is not under the oversight of the Australian energy regulator when it comes to pricing for accessing its pipeline.”

“We’re concerned that Jemena may have had undue influence over the NT Government, and we think the matter should be referred to the new ICAC in the Territory.”

EJA report: Fracking the Northern Territory (PDF, 924KB)

Released 25 May 2018

Image: A gas pipeline cuts a swathe through bushland at Tara, Queensland (pic: Jeremy Buckingham)