Action item 9.8



25% Complete.
Government approval of policy/process development.

That the NT and Australian governments seek to ensure that there is no net increase in the life cycle GHG emissions emitted in Australia from any onshore shale gas produced in the NT.

Target completion date

Stage 3.
To be completed by end December 2022.

Reform area
Safeguarding water and the environment
Project action
Maintaining and monitoring ecosystem health
Lead agency
Department of Environment, Parks and Water Security

Action item update

Implementation progress

Since it accepted the recommendations of the Inquiry, the NT Government has adopted a development goal of a $40 billion economy by 2030, and committed to a target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Government has also committed to a target of 50% renewable energy by 2030. These commitments frame the Territory’s approach to growing and decarbonising the economy.

A significant amount of work is underway to implement each of these commitments, guided by the Territory Economic Reconstruction Implementation Plan and the Northern Territory Climate Change Response.

The Territory is focused on achieving its economy-wide target of net zero emissions by 2050 and recognises that meaningful emissions reductions from the onshore petroleum industry will be required to achieve the target.

The Inquiry charged both the Northern Territory and Commonwealth governments with implementing Recommendation 9.8. The Inquiry Panel recognised that the NT Government has limited control over full life cycle emissions from gas production in the Territory, with a shared commitment from the Commonwealth Government required to meet the recommendation.

The NT Government has taken significant action to implement Recommendation 9.8 within the sphere of its control. These actions include:

  • reformed legislation to ensure greenhouse gas emissions can be regulated under the Petroleum (Environment) Regulations 2016 and the Environment Protection Act 2019;
  • requiring the petroleum industry to comply with a Code of Practice that establishes minimum standards for monitoring and managing emissions from upstream infrastructure;
  • released the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Management for New and Expanding Large Emitters policy to set expectations for the management of emissions from development projects, including the onshore petroleum industry;
  • established a Northern Territory Offsets Framework and developing a policy on greenhouse gas offsets;
  • establishing a land based abatement program to grow the local carbon industry and increase the generation of carbon  credits in the Territory;
  • collaborating with industry and the Commonwealth Government to progress carbon capture, use and storage technology in the Territory, and
  • investigating options to reduce emissions from flaring during production.

The Large Emitters Policy and Emissions Offsets Policy will apply to all development projects, including onshore petroleum activities. They are being developed well in advance of onshore petroleum production.

These actions are in addition to the net zero targets many industry members are setting for themselves and the commitments they are making to achieve those targets.

The Territory’s response to Recommendation 9.8 will continue to evolve as new information comes to hand, including the findings of a GISERA investigation into the availability of abatement options to achieve net zero life cycle emissions from onshore petroleum production in the Territory. This report is due mid-2022.

The Northern Territory continues to engage with the Commonwealth Government on implementation of Recommendation 9.8 and has negotiated a 10-year energy and emissions bilateral agreement to increase the supply of Territory gas, ensure reliable low cost power and increase renewables penetration, create jobs and deliver emissions reductions through investment in renewables and low emissions technologies.

The Commonwealth Government has a major role to play in implementing Recommendation 9.8. If Territory gas is consumed elsewhere in Australia it will be responsible for managing the majority of emissions from the production of onshore petroleum in the Territory.