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No plan to offset carbon bomb: NT Government poised to backflip on fracking offsets commitment

Protect Country Alliance has accused the NT Gunner Government of preparing to backflip over its promise to ensure fracking companies exploiting the Beetaloo Basin offset their greenhouse gas emissions.

The government yesterday released its Greenhouse Gas Emissions Management for New and Expanding Large Emitters policy (Large Emitters Policy). However, the policy contains no concrete explanations of how fracking companies would be made to offset the vast emissions created.

Protect Country Alliance spokesperson Graeme Sawyer said, “The NT Gunner Government appears poised to backflip on its commitment to ensure fracking companies offset the massive greenhouse gas emissions they would create, if this industry proceeds.

“If allowed to establish, a fully fledged fracking industry targeting the Beetaloo Basin would unleash a carbon bomb equivalent to up to 117 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent each year. That’s about one quarter of Australia’s total annual domestic emissions. 

“The NT Government’s newly released draft Greenhouse Gas Emissions Management for New and Expanding Large Emitters policy (Large Emitters Policy) contains no reference to anything concrete that would make petroleum companies extracting gas from the Beetaloo offset their emissions.

“This was a key recommendation (9.8) of the Pepper Inquiry. Like so much of its response to this inquiry, the Gunner Government is using weasel words and vague statements in an attempt to cover up the fact many recommendations are not complete.”

Pepper Inquiry recommendation 9.8 stated: 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.

“We suspect the Gunner Government is getting set to backflip on its promise to make sure fracking companies offset their emissions, including downstream (scope 3) emissions,” Mr Sawyer said.

“We also fear the taxpayer may be forced to pick up the offsets bill for these companies so the Gunner Government can claim it is keeping its promise. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time this government has subsidised the fracking industry.

“It is now three and a half years since the Pepper Inquiry handed down its recommendations. Exploratory fracking rigs are already drilling through the heart of the Territory. 

“The Gunner Government needs to come clean on whether or not fracking companies will be forced to offset the emissions they create.

“Territorians need to know how these offset requirements can be met as the climate risks, as well as the economic risks, are huge. 

“Fracking is economically destructive in the US and is likely to be more so in the NT, given the challenges of operating in extremely remote areas.”


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