Providing a better understanding of the natural methane levels, over the various seasons, a baseline for accurately quantifying any future onshore gas impacts.

The aim of this project is to monitor and measure background methane levels and rate of change in methane levels during the dry, wet, and fire seasons using mobile survey technology.

Reports and papers

Pre-Exploration Measurement and Monitoring of Background Landscape Methane Concentrations and Fluxes in the Beetaloo sub-Basin, Northern Territory PDF 1 MB

Presents the finding of the first surveys conducted over a 13-day period during the dry season between the 29th July and the 10th August 2018.

The vehicle surveys covered approximately 5,500 km on trafficable roads and tracks during the 13-day survey period. Between 200 and 600 km were driven each day.  Most of the surveys were conducted on pastoral land, crown land and exploration leases, however, targeted surveys were made at 11 plugged and abandoned or suspended petroleum wells, and 21 water bores. A section of the Daly Waters to McArthur River Gas Pipeline adjacent to the Carpentaria Highway was also surveyed for the presence of methane.

Overall, the majority of methane concentrations recorded during the surveys were within the range of 1.77 to 1.85 parts per million (ppm) which is close to normal background concentrations of approximately 1.8 ppm expected in rural or natural areas.  Isolated pockets of slightly elevated methane concentrations were observed in some areas; the sources of these were identified as:

  • grazing cattle
  • urban areas
  • small grassfires
  • a natural spring
  • a section of above-ground gas pipeline and associated valves.

Milestone 1 report, October 2018.


Methane emissions in the Northern Territory’s Beetaloo Sub-basin PDF 499 KB

Before any shale gas exploration is approved, this project will measure baseline methane emissions from natural and human-derived sources in the Beetaloo Sub-basin. The results will inform the community, the Northern Territory (NT) Government and the gas industry.

Factsheet, September 2018.

Project progress

This project is approximately 25% complete.

Project proposal PDF 324 KB

A detailed description of the project, budget and research milestones.

Project order, September 2018.

Progress report PDF 578 KB

The project outline, any variations and research progress.

Progress report, November 2018.

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Contact details