The Northern Territory Government has granted approval for Santos’ $100 million drilling program at the Mereenie Gas Fields in Central Australia.
The Mereenie Gas Fields, located 300 kilometres west of Alice Springs, has been operated by Santos since 1993. It has produced more than 16 million barrels of oil and condensate since 1984.
The expansion is set to extend the life of the field to 2030.
ABC reported that Traditional Owners are visiting the site and are in talks over local employment and ensuring there is no impact on sacred sites.
Santos says drilling will start in the middle of this year.
“We will be using fracture stimulation techniques at Mereenie,” the company said in a statement.
"This is not new – we have been doing that over a long period at Mereenie using hydraulic fracturing and have considerable experience at doing this.
"Our approach will comply with Government regulations."
Oil and condensate is loaded onto trucks from the Mereenie site for shipment to Port Bonython in South Australia.
The Mereenie program will target oil while also evaluating natural gas resources and it is expected the field will have an oil and natural gas production life-span of 17 years.