Budget Paper No.6 1997/98 Northern Territory Economy
Tabled Paper 3223
Tabled Papers for 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997; Tabled papers; ParliamentNT
Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory under Standing Order 240. Where copyright subsists with a third party it remains with the original owner and permission may be required to reuse the material.
of oil at Mereenie is forecast to remain around 3 000 barrels per day in 1997-98. (Note that the energy production data shown in Figures 8.1 and 8.4 does not include ZOC-A production.) In May 1996 the Northern Territory Government approved the mining of Ranger Orebody No. 3 which is situated approximately 1.5 km north of the now exhausted Orebody No. 1. Current reserves are expected to last for 15 years. Mill capacity has increased to 5 000 tonnes of concentrate per year. Improved prices and increased production of uranium has helped arrest the fall in the value of energy production. Energy Outlook Forecasts for the value of energy production to 2000-01 are shown in Figure 8.4. The value of energy production is forecast to increase significantly in 1998-99, principally as a result of the production from the Laminaria/Corallina oil fields in the Ashmore/Cartier area of the Timor Sea. Uranium ore production is also forecast to increase while gas production should remain stable until the turn of the century. The expected decline in the value of oil production between 1999-00 and 2000-01 is due to reduced production from Laminaria/Corallina. Spot prices for uranium oxide have risen for four consecutive years and are expected to peak in 1997, averaging US$17/lb. Strong global demand and reduced inventories have boosted world prices and have stimulated uranium exports from the Territory. The proposed development of Jabiluka is currently awaiting the outcome of the processes for environmental approvals and for negotiations with traditonal landowners. Jabiluka has approximately 90 000 tonnes of high grade uranium ore awaiting development. While the life of the existing producing oil wells is on the decline, there have been some very exciting discoveries in the Timor Sea. Appraisal drilling will occur on discovered fields. In addition, oil and gas companies are committed to drilling at least 30 off shore oil and gas exploration wells before the end of 1998 and are expected to drill over 90 off shore wells by the end of 2001. The Laminaria/Corallina project reserves are estimated at 155 million barrels, with first oil production likely in early 1999. Total project cost will be approximately $1 billion, with a project life of at least 13 years; peak production is expected to be in excess of 150 000 barrels per day in 1999-00. Also of relevance to the Northern Territory are developments in ZOC-A. This area is administered by a joint authority comprising officials of the Australian and Indonesian Governments. The joint authority has offices in both Darwin and Jakarta. Mining 47
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