05 Nov Trade and Investment opportunities in Australia’s Northern Territory by the Government of the Northern Territory
Built through trade and investment, the Northern Territory’s relationship with Korea continues to grow, fanned by increasing Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) exports and new opportunities in minerals and energy. South Korea is Australia’s third largest LNG export market after Japan and China.
Connected through a 24/7 international airport and the only operational deep water port in Northern Australia, doing business in the Territory is an investment in unmatched proximity. Darwin is Australia’s most northern capital city and is strategically located near proven offshore gas reserves. Here, the connection between the Territory and Korea has been shaped through shared interest in the Barossa-Caldita gas fields in the Bonaparte Basin which are a backfill contender for the Territory’s Darwin LNG facility.
Similar shared interests saw the Chief Minister of the Territory, the Honourable Michael Gunner MLA visit Korea as part of his first overseas mission in October 2016. There he witnessed the construction of key facilities including the central processing facility (CPF) and floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) facility for the INPEX-led Ichthys LNG project, and the Prelude Floating Liquefied Natural Gas (FLNG) facility. Former Territory Chief Minister, the Hon Clare Martin is the Godmother for the FPSO and the former Australian Foreign Minister, the Hon Julie Bishop MP, is the Godmother of the CPF. All three facilities are now moored in waters off Australia’s north-west coast and Darwin is the key service and supply centre for them.
The opportunities to further this trade relationship are boundless. The Territory Government has lifted the moratorium on hydraulic stimulation of its world scale onshore shale gas resources enabling the recommencement of exploration and appraisal activities which could significantly boost natural gas supplies, further enhancing the connectivity between the Territory and Korea. Private sector investment in onshore exploration and development is needed to maintain and expand the role of energy in the Territory’s economy not just as a centre for gas exports, but as a gas-based manufacturing hub.
The Territory also has potential to assist Korea transition to a low carbon economy through the use of hydrogen driven fuel cells. The large volumes of gas available in the Territory are suited to production of large, tradeable volumes of hydrogen and other chemicals that can be used as hydrogen carriers. The Territory also has abundant supplies of solar energy and seawater that could possibly be used to produce hydrogen using electrolysis.
The Territory is also endowed with sought-after commodities such as iron ore, lithium, gold, manganese, bauxite, base metals, phosphate, uranium and rare earths which Korea has shown considerable interest in.
The Territory has long recognised Korea as an important economic partner and in 2017 the 5th NT-Korea Trade and Investment Roundtable, a joint initiative between the Northern Territory Government and the Korean Embassy was held in Darwin. Since the first Roundtable in Darwin in 2013, the event has developed from predominantly a minerals and energy focused event to one that covers a broader spectrum of industries and is an important fixture in the Government’s international engagement calendar.
In this, the 40th year of the Australia Korea Business Council, the Territory congratulates the organisation on its success to date and looks forwards to continuing to work together for at least another 40 years.