The federal government is backing the Northern Territory’s energy resources sector by locking in $1 million to help boost competitiveness and productivity.
The new funding has been made available through the industry-led growth centre NERA (National Energy Resources Australia), the Australian Government’s Growth Centre for the oil, gas and energy resources sector.
Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Senator Matt Canavan launched NERA’s Northern Territory Project Fund while visiting SPEE3D at Charles Darwin University, which received $437,000 from NERA under a previous funding round.
SPEE3D used the funds to develop new high-speed, low-cost metal 3D printer technology specifically for the oil and gas industry.
SPEE3D’s LightSPEE3D printer manufactures fast, low-cost, near net shape parts suitable for commercial and industrial applications. The innovation won the Technology Application Award at the Endeavour Awards 2018.
The technology is revolutionising work in remote areas by allowing on-site metal parts production, saving time and money for resource companies which would otherwise have to shut down operations while waiting for parts from interstate or overseas.
Minister Canavan said in a first for NERA, the new funding round specifically targeted the NT energy resources sector.
“As SPEE3D amply demonstrates, partnerships between the government and industry can produce awesome results. Providing matched funding for innovative ideas helps the energy resources sector adopt and commercialise new technology, and secure new services and products to boost the region’s global competitiveness,” Minister Canavan said.
“The NT has developed one of the strongest onshore and offshore energy industries in the country and our investment will support Australian innovation and make sure we remain globally competitive,” he added.
NERA chief executive Miranda Taylor said project proponents who can demonstrate innovative approaches, clear commercialisation applications and implementation timeframes should consider applying.
“NERA’s project funding and industry networks are actively supporting Australian solutions to the challenges faced by our energy resources community around the country to improve our sector for the benefit of all Australians,” Taylor said.
“By unlocking these opportunities for all players from the energy resources sector – from the big end of town, to researchers, government, skills organisations and small businesses, that are collaboratively coming up with the innovative solutions to our industry challenges – we have the potential to unlock a further $10 billion in value to the Australian economy, but we must work together in order to do it,” she said.
Proposals for the Northern Territory Project Fund are now open, with SMEs, operators, researchers, public sector entities and innovators invited to apply.
Projects must have matched industry funding, be undertaken in the NT and address one or more of the knowledge priorities identified in the NERA Sector Competitiveness Plan – a strategic roadmap for Australia’s oil, gas, coal and uranium industries and value chains.
Applications must be received by 8 October 2018.