Falcon Oil & Gas Ltd (LON:FOG) has highlighted an announcement by the Australian government, which intends to back exploration in the Beetaloo sub-basin with up to A$50mln of funding.

AIM-quoted Falcon is among the early movers in the Beetaloo, via its partnership with Origin Energy, with some 4.6mln acres worth of permits covering what is believed to be the most prospective core area of the sub-basin.

The government funding is designed to fast-track projects to drilling, Falcon noted in a statement.

READ: Falcon’s Beetaloo wells will ‘advance without delay’

Canberra will provide grants that will cover 25% of eligible exploration costs, capped at A$7.5mln per well. The funding programme will be limited to three wells per exploration venture, Falcon noted.

“The announcement by the Australian government highlights the strategic and economic importance of the Beetaloo sub-basin which it believes has the potential to be a world-class gas resource, transform the Northern Territory economy and generate 6,000 jobs by 2040,” said Philip O’Quigley, Falcon chief executive.

“We look forward to continue working with our partners, Origin, and the state and federal governments and other stakeholders towards the successful development of the sub-basin.”

Falcon owns a 22.5% interest in its joint venture with Origin.

The explorer also used the announcement to highlight the possible scale of the Beetaloo sub-basin opportunity, via figures provided by the Northern Territory’s Geological Survey.

The Survey estimates the sub-basin could hold more than 190 trillion cubic feet of gas (200,000 petajoules) which, if conservatively only 10% was recovered, would satisfy Australia’s domestic gas demand for over a decade.

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