Energy giant Santos has announced it has committed to a $100 million drilling and appraisal program over the coming 12 months in the onshore Mereenie field in the Northern Territory.

The appraisal and development drilling program will mainly be targeting oil, but will also be evaluating natural gas resources.

Santos has operated Mereenie, 250 kilometres west of Alice Springs in the Amadeus Basin, since 1993. The field has produced more than 16 million barrels of oil and condensate and over 240 billion cubic feet of sales gas since 1984. 

Santos Mereenie Asset Manager Mark Buckland said there are enough oil and natural gas reserves to extend the life of the Mereenie field well beyond 2030. 

“The safe and sustainable development of this project has the potential to deliver economic benefits through jobs, revenue and royalties for many years,” Mr Buckland said. 

Territory Chief Minister, Adam Giles, said that the investment was a ‘huge win’ for Territorians.

“The Northern Territory is rich in natural resources; as a Government it is exciting to welcome investments like this. Working with Santos we will be able to achieve many mutually beneficial goals,” Mr Giles said.

“Santos has already been in talks with the Central Land Council about indigenous recruitment and local employment.

“I welcome Santos’ investment decision and their desire to engage with local communities.”