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THE first Territory onshore oil licence has been granted in 32 years.
Central Petroleum has been awarded the 25-year production licence for the Surprise Oil field in Central Australia.
The deal has been estimated to create about 20 jobs, mostly local to the Kintore area, 461km west of Alice Springs.
The 30ha Surprise site will be ready to produce by mid-March and it is expected to produce 400 barrels of oil a day for 300 days a year.
Central Petroleum chief executive Richard Cottee said he hoped to open other oil fields in the Amadeus basin.
"It's more of an acorn than an oak tree but its better to have an acorn than nothing at all,'' he said.
He said the discovery was made in January 2014 and the project is worth $25 million.
The crude oil will be trucked to the Santos facility in Port Bonython in South Australia and then shipped to a refinery in Singapore.
Asked why not shipped from Darwin, Mr Cottee said: ``When you get to critical mass, that will allow it to be railed to Darwin.''
``Darwin is closer to Singapore by a country mile.''
Energy Minister Willem Westra Van Holthe said: ``It's getting to that critical mass''.
He said the Territory stood to gain about $10 million in royalties over the term of the licence.
Mr Westra Van Holthe said more oil fields in the Borraloola and Daly Waters region could be explored.
The minister and Mr Cottee assured environmental and community consultation requirements had been satisfied
This article first appeared on www.ntnews.com.au
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