Another independent economic analysis has confirmed the strong contribution onshore shale gas development could contribute to the Northern Territory.
The report, by economics consultant ACIL Allen, was commissioned by the NT Scientific Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracturing, being lead by Justice Pepper.
Shale gas development could create more than 500 new jobs sustained over 25 years, boost the NT economy by $5.8 billion and generate up to $3.7 billion in taxes and royalties for the Territory over the same period.
While this represents an unambiguously strong assessment for the economic benefits, it appears to be very conservative in its modelling.
An earlier economic impact analysis, by Deloitte Access Economics was much more upbeat.
Deloitte estimated a $22.4 billion boost to the NT economy with 6,300 new jobs.
While the latest economic benefit assessment was reported positively in weekend NT media, it was interesting that the timing of its release, at 8pm Friday, meant that the first reaction came from social media, with anti-development campaigners quick to jump in.
Lock The Gate and others focussed on the difference between the two assessments to try to undermine the case for development.
NT industry representative Matt Doman countered, saying the ACIL Allen report reinforced that there were substantial benefits available for the Territory through responsible, regulated development of shale gas resources.
“The ACIL Allen analysis is a very conservative model which is at odds with the demonstrated experience of the gas industry in other states and uses smaller development scenarios than the industry believes are likely,” said Mr Doman, the NT Director for the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association.
“For example, initial developments envisaged by just three companies could exceed all of the gas production modelled in this (ACIL Allen) report,” he said.
“As well, earlier economic modelling has shown the economic benefits would be even greater for the NT if shale gas was developed for export as well as domestic use.”
The NT Inquiry has indicated it will deliver its final report within weeks.