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Australia rejoins road to shale riches

Shale gas developers are beginning to ramp up their exploration efforts following the end of a freeze on fracking approvals in the Northern Territory

Australia’s shale gas sector is showing its first true signs of activity since the Northern Territory (NT) decided to lift its two-year moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in 2018. The Darwin government’s ban on fracking, introduced in 2016, derailed Santos and Origin Energy’s exploration plans, with both companies having only drilled a handful of wells up to that point. The decision, prompted by growing environmental opposition to fracking, froze development on the federal territory’s estimated 500tn ft³ shale gas resource. The NT lifted its ban after a 15-month independent scientific inquiry reported in March 2018 that the risks surrounding fracking could be mitigated if its 135 recommend



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