Inpex approval puts gas back into Darwin’s property market

Inpex approval puts gas back into Darwin’s property market

Posted on Tuesday, January 17 2012 at 12:27 PM

The Inpex project means “very exciting times are ahead” for Darwin, according to the Real Estate Institute of the Northern Territory (REINT).

The $34 billion Ichthys liquefied natural gas (LNG) project has been officially approved by Inpex, giving the Darwin property market a much-needed boost.

The project will produce 8.4 million tonnes of LNG a year from 2016, 1.6 million tonnes of liquid petroleum gas a year and 100,000 barrels of condensate a day.

An estimated 3000 jobs also will be needed during the peak of construction, with a further 1000 offshore. Once the project is in operation in 2017, 700 permanent positions will be required.

REINT’s chief executive officer Quentin Kilian says the announcement is the turning point for Darwin’s struggling market.

“This announcement will lead to fairly radical changes to the makeup of Darwin,” Kilian says.

“It’s already installed business confidence and that sentiment is really filtering through. In the last quarter, the median price has stayed stable but what we’ve seen is an increase in sales activity. That’s partly because people are realising perhaps this is the bottom (of the property market) and things will move upwards.”

Although there won’t be a major impact on sales or rentals at first, Kilian predicts property will be soaked up in the long term as more gas projects are announced.

Director of Herron Todd White, Terry Roth, predicts there will be more activity in the market over the next 12 months and vacancy rates are likely to decrease. But he believes Darwin is still a while away from another boom.

“I don’t see any huge jumps, due to affordability more than anything else,” he says.

“People won’t come here if they can’t afford to live here. But we might see more interstate investment.”

Inpex chairman Naoki Kuroda says the Inpex project will be one of the world’s largest LNG facilities, based on an estimated 40 years of gas and condensate reserves from the Browse Basin.

“In delivering this important project into production we’ll be securing vital long-term energy supply to Japan and our other customers while delivering sustainable economic and social benefits across Australia,” he says.

“Ichthys will contribute significantly to the growth of the Australian economy while strengthening friendly ties between Japan and Australia.”

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