NT’s $100M pledge

The NT government has offered 80% the port lease to Chinese-backed WestSide Corporation for 99 years for $506 million.Giles told the Northern Defence Summit this week that Darwin had the potential to become the “prime location” for marine maintenance and servicing in Northern Australia with the development of a common user ship lift facility at the Marine Industry Park.The 150 hectare Marine Industry Park at East Arm will provide integrated marine maintenance, fabrication, engineering and general marine services to support the defence, oil and gas, and logistics industries,” he said.“Once at full capacity, it’s estimated the 150 hectare Marine Industry Park will support up to 4500 full time jobs and inject around $3.5 billion into the territory economy,” Giles said.The news comes just over a month after Australian logistics firm Qube Holdings opened its new $25 million supply base at Darwin’s East Arm precinct to service ConocoPhillips’ offshore needs for the Darwin LNG project.Plenty has been happening in the NT oil and gas patch of late, with weeks-long joust going on over Armour Energy’s early stage assets in the McArthur Basin, promising wildcat results for Origin Energy in the Beetaloo Basin, Japanese multinational Inpex’s Ichthys LNG project construction chugging along albeit an 18-month delay and bidders working on the proposed NT Interconnector pipeline to Queensland.Amid the takeover hype, Armour last month defined some 57 trillion cubic feet of Top End potential, including the maiden resources for three of its emerging plays.“The NT government has offered to invest up to $100 million into a common user ship lift as part of the early stages of development of the Marine Industry Park if the federal government commit to ship servicing of its naval and border protection fleet in Darwin,” Giles said.“It is the sort of infrastructure that will drive local industry and keep this work in the hands of Territorians. It will drive economic growth, attract private sector investment and position Darwin as a prime location for marine maintenance and servicing facilities in the region.”If supported by Canberra, the NT government could go to market seeking commercial partners early next year with construction to commence as early as 2017, the NT government said.The announcement follows work starting this week on an $18 million barge ramp facility at East Arm that will be used to load and unload Defence equipment and troops, and provide better access for coastal shipping barges coming into Darwin.

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