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The Northern Territory is poised to reap enormous economic benefits from the Barossa gas project.

A three-four month offshore construction campaign will create 500 jobs for Australians and a further 300 for highly-skilled expatriate crew and technical support workers from Europe.

About 340 hotel rooms will be needed in Darwin.

And 90 workers will “change out” every week during pipe-laying – that’s 180 people every week travelling in and out of the Territory on planes, staying in Darwin hotels, eating at local restaurants and using cabs.

“I have no doubt there will be more attempts from anti-fossil fuel activists to stop Barossa, but this project is far too important for Darwin and the Territory for us to take a backward step,” Santos chief executive Kevin Gallagher said in the keynote speech at NT Resources Week.

“The NT Government expects the Barossa Gas Project to deliver $2.5 billion in wages and contracts to local workers and businesses.

“With Bayu-Undan gas production ending this year, Barossa will supply the Darwin LNG plant from 2025 following a $925 million life extension program that will employ more than 300 construction and maintenance workers over the next 18 months and provide opportunities for local engineering firms and many other businesses who will also employ local workers.

“The 180 workers will continue to work at DLNG when the life extension program is completed – keeping them and their families in Darwin, contributing to the local community and the Territory economy. “Every year when it is operating, Darwin LNG generates about $100 million in supply and service opportunities for Territory businesses.

“And every four years when Darwin LNG does its major maintenance shutdown, it brings another 600 jobs to town and injects up to $50 million into the Territory economy through local supply and service opportunities…

“The importance of Barossa and Darwin LNG to the lives, and livelihoods, of Territorians simply cannot be overestimated.

“The Territory economy grew by 4.7 per cent in the 2022 financial year, but was expected to contract by 5.1 per cent this year.

“This shows just how critical the LNG industry is to the Territory and to the prosperity of Territorians.

“The contraction of the economy is largely due to declining output in 2022-23 as the Bayu-Undan gas field neared the end of its life and disruptions that occurred at Ichthys LNG in the second half of 2022.

“Growth over the next five years is forecast to average only 0.9 per cent per year, picking up once the Darwin LNG plant transitions to the Barossa gas field in 2025.

“In its own words, the NT Government’s growth outlook is ‘heavily influenced’ by the timing of activity associated with Barossa.


“Santos has been a committed corporate citizen in the Territory since it was formed nearly 70 years ago and we remain committed to securing a better economic and social future for its communities – through the investments we make here.

“At the same time we remain committed to honouring the commitments we and our joint venture partners have made to customers in Japan and Korea who rely on Barossa gas and Darwin LNG for their energy security.

“Japan and Korea have been a major source of investment in Australian energy resources for more than half a century, they are the investment sources we need for new energy technologies such as solar, wind and hydrogen – and Australia must not let them down.”

Mr Gallagher said the Territory has “enormous potential” as a leading supplier of cleaner and more affordable energy to Australia and Asia.

“It has a wealth of gas resources – onshore and offshore – a wealth of renewable resources, particularly solar – and a wealth of both geological and nature-based carbon sequestration opportunities.

“It’s the ideal place for new industrial development, including hydrogen, ammonia and polymers. And potentially, critical minerals processing.

“It has plenty of land and deepwater ports. It is close to massive energy and chemicals markets in Asia.

“It has a population that includes the most disadvantaged people in our nation and who need access to education, skills and well-paid job opportunities to secure a better future for themselves, their families and their communities.

“There is no doubt the Northern Territory Government, led by Chief Minister Natasha Fyles and Minister Manison, is right behind a vision for the Territory to prosper from its competitive energy advantage.

“But there are many challenges beyond their control. Santos’s Barossa Gas Project is 66 percent complete, excluding the Darwin pipeline duplication project, and would be further advanced but for a climate activist-led campaign to stop the Barossa Gas Project and undermine the regulator NOPSEMA.

“This is despite the fact that, from day one, Barossa will offset 100 per cent of its reservoir CO2 emissions. Combined with proximity to Asian markets – which means shipping emissions are low compared to other LNG projects – this will make Barossa one of the lowest carbon intensity projects in the world.

“From day one.”