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Oil flows in the top end

The Northern Territory is fast becoming the ideal location for companies wanting to invest their expertise in servicing the growing oil and gas market.

After tourism and defence expenditure, this emerging industry is fast becoming a lucrative area of the Territory’s economy.

Recognising this, the NT Government has channelled billions of dollars into developing the strategically located capital of Darwin as a regional multimodal hub with world class infrastructure, communications and growing skill base.

In an initiative announced in late 1998, the Northern Territory Government also established an Office of Resource Development to consolidate its activities in progressing major resource development projects.

The office has a strategic and major resource development role across all industry sectors and works in close co-operation with other Northern Territory Government agencies to ensure that development opportunities are actively pursued. The oil and gas sector is a key client.

Mining has long been an income generator for the Northern Territory but it is apparent the relatively new oil and gas industry is the way of the future.

Oil and gas is being explored off the Territory coast at a significant rate. Record development and exploration programs are now underway.

More than 20 discoveries in the last five years, with six last year alone, translates to an outstanding 30 per cent success rate. More than $16 billion of oil and gas production and processing projects are planned, proposed or currently under study.

Supply base companies are starting to realise the potential and advantages of Darwin and are steadily starting to set up operations to service offshore oil and gas activities.

The Baker Hughes Group, which is listed as one of the world’s top 300 companies, is one of those with two of its companies setting up in Darwin. The company, Baker Hughes Inteq and Baker Oil Tools, recently set up in the Trade Development Zone, Australia’s only export processing zone, for its operations in the oil industry throughout northern Australia, Asia and Pacific, bringing specialised oil field technology to Darwin for the first time.

The group provides requirements for a client searching for hydrocarbons or gas — from planning the well and supplying the engineers to running the job and provision of all equipment.

Infrastructure in Darwin coming on line includes the completion of the East Arm Port and the Alice Springs to Darwin railway. Regular shipping into the Asian region and daily domestic and international flights also help to make Darwin an attractive location.

A local Territory company that has had the foresight to position itself in regards to the offshore oil industry is Universal Engineering.

Primarily focused on servicing the oil and gas industry in the Timor Sea, the Darwin-based company offers fabrication and welding, machine shop and fitting services.

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