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The first three grants under the $50 million Beetaloo Cooperative Drilling Program have been revealed by the Federal Government, helping the development of gas projects in the Northern Territory.

Minister for Resources and Water, Keith Pitt has said the three grants to Imperial Oil and Gas would provide up to $21 million to support three new exploration wells in the company’s EP187 exploration zone in the basin’s east.

Under the Beetaloo Cooperative Drilling Program, grants of up to $7.5 million per well are available to applicants, with further grants expected to be announced in the coming months.

“The Beetaloo Sub-basin is potentially a world-class gas resource which could create thousands of jobs and help bolster supplies of gas for the domestic market and for exports around the world,” Mr Pitt said.

“The Coalition Government announced the new strategic basin plan for the Beetaloo Sub-basin in December, with the aim of speeding up investment, exploration and development to unlock jobs and resources under the gas-fired recovery program.

“Grants under the Beetaloo Cooperative Drilling Program are expected to deliver several additional exploration wells by 2022 and bring forward at least $150 million in private investment in the basin.”

Mr Pitt said development in the Beetaloo Sub-basin can transform the Northern Territory economy and generate up to 6,000 jobs, mostly in the Territory, by 2040.

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