Northern Territory Chief Minister Adam Giles has taken aim at political opponents of natural gas development, telling the Territory Assembly that a reality check is needed in the debate over natural gas and fracking:
“(W)e need to keep some reality here. Labor is calling for frack gas not to be used. Are they really saying, ‘Turn the lights off in Tennant Creek, Alice Springs and Yulara?’ We need to be fair and reasonable in what we are talking about, because this has been going on in the Northern Territory for a long time.”
Activists has targeted central Australia to try and stir up opposition to natural gas development, using badly Photoshopped images to support ludicrous claims that Uluru is being targeted as a gas development site.
Apparently activists don’t care that the NT depends almost entirely on natural gas to power its main centres and most of its regional towns.
In fact, of the 10 electricity generation facilities in the NT, only one is not powered predominantly by gas.
The Top End is different to most Australia States in this almost exclusive adoption of natural gas, made possible by a can-do attitude and gas reserves which have been safely developed for decades – as the Chief Minister explained:
“It interesting that between 2001 and 2012 Labor approved 33 gas wells in the Northern Territory. They are now saying they do not support wells. They do not talk about how, since 1967, there has been fractured gas in the Northern Territory. They do not talk about the great Australian company Santos, South Australia Northern Territory Oil Search, putting its first wells in the ground in Mereenie in 1967, producing natural gas for this nation for the Northern Territory.”
The next closest State is South Australia, based on its huge reserves in the Cooper Basin, in northern SA, and in the south-east of the State.
As the SA Government proudly proclaims, if other States followed the SA lead on energy management, Australia could easily meet its national greenhouse gas reduction targets without massive taxpayer cost, structural dislocation and industrial job losses.
In the US, a shift to natural gas has been a boon for the economy, creating energy security, reducing imports, creating jobs and sparking a renaissance ion manufacturing which had been in serious decline.
All this, plus delivering a substantial reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. The Obama administration has been given great credit for this growth and greenhouse reduction achievement, but the truth is it occurred without Federal policy intervention — the oil and gas industry took the initiative and States, landholders and American businesses and consumers are reaping the rewards
Natural gas is a big part of daily life in both the US and Australia. Gas is used for heating and cooking in about 5 million homes in Australia; about 70 million in the USA. It is a major driver of industrial production, manufacturing and small business (especially in hospitality) in both countries.
Gas is an ingredient used to make fertilizer, antifreeze, plastics, pharmaceuticals and fabrics. It is also used to manufacture a wide range of chemicals such as ammonia, methanol, butane, ethane, propane and acetic acid.
It is used to fire blast furnaces for production of steel and aluminium. Many manufacturing processes require heat to melt, dry, bake or glaze a product.
Natural gas is used as a heat source in making glass, steel, cement, bricks, ceramics, tile, paper, food products and many other commodities.
Switching away from natural gas in the Northern Territory would pull the plug on the economy.
Surely opponents of gas and fracking don’t want that?