Australia’s Northern Territory (NT) has lifted an almost 2-year moratorium on hydraulic fracturing to produce natural gas, which could open huge onshore reserves and possibly prompt other provinces to do the same. The moratorium was enacted while a government inquiry into the environmental, social, and economic risks of fracturing was conducted. In announcing the recent decision, NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner said, “The moratorium on fracking in the Northern Territory will be lifted, with strict new laws to be in place before exploration or production can occur.” NT is mainly outback and covers 540,000 square miles, extending from the center of Australia to the northern coast. Origin Energy said it would resume plans “as soon as practical” to initiate drilling and fracturing in the Beetaloo Basin shale gas field, which the company said holds 6.6 Tcf of contingent reserves.
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