Investment prospectus

Supply and service industries

With the proliferation of major oil and gas investments, an increasing investment in defence capabilities and the associated infrastructure and services, there is long term potential for new entrants to invest or expand into the Northern Territory.

Darwin is well positioned to service floating LNG facilities proposed in the seas to its north and west, in addition to the two LNG facilities located or being built in Darwin. Darwin’s emergence as a significant oil and gas service centre means it will develop the capabilities to support both onshore and offshore projects.

Servicing and supporting an expanding export market presents a compelling investment opportunity for global players whose energy supply chain starts in the Northern Territory and ends in their home country or region.

Current activity

Darwin is establishing itself as a centre for onshore and offshore service and supply, and developing the capabilities to service the growth in offshore exploration and development.

The Darwin Marine Supply Base provides oil platform tenders a dedicated facility to load provisions and construction materials. There is substantial capacity for additional services to utilise these facilities.

With the Northern Territory home to almost 6% of Australia’s defence force personnel and their families, defence is a key contributor to and pillar of the economy. This growth is set to continue with a number of Australian Defence Force platforms now permanently based in the Northern Territory (for example, Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter Regiment and 75% of Australia’s Armidale Class Patrol Boats are stationed in Darwin).

The Northern Territory Government’s recently announced 'Defence Strategy Northern Territory 2015' sets the vision for a capable and profitable industry, contemporary infrastructure and supportive community, contributing to defence capability and the Northern Territory economy. There is significant opportunity for interested investors to establish in the Northern Territory and leverage off significant potential growth.

Advantages that set the Northern Territory apart

  • Established rail, road and port infrastructure in Darwin to support it as a base for supply and service industries.
  • A fully equipped marine supply base well connected to national road, rail and airport networks.
  • An international standard 24 hour airport.
  • Skilled labour and management capabilities in the logistics and supply services fields.
  • World standard emergency and disaster response facilities and capabilities.
  • Fully serviced city infrastructure to support sophisticated business operations.

Opportunities for investors

The Northern Territory Government is committed to working with new investors and businesses to capitalise on the growing offshore and onshore oil and gas sector, the expected increase in exploration and mining, and the development of downstream industries. Examples of established supply and service industries with the capacity for growth include:

Marine Supply Base

The establishment of the new wharf and provisioning facilities in Darwin creates an opportunity for support businesses to operate from Darwin.

Marine Industry Park

This 140+ hectare Marine Industry Park is located approx. 16kms from Darwin’s CBD and includes premium industrial waterfront land in the East Arm Logistics Precinct. The precinct has excellent road, rail and marine transport infrastructure. The precinct includes the East Arm Wharf, Austral-Asia Railway, Marine Supply Base, and a Common User Facility with nine hectares of hardstand area with direct access to a new Multi-user Barge Ramp. The Northern Territory Government is also currently considering investing up to $100 million to develop a common multi-user ship lift facility. The Marine Industry Park provides a unique opportunity to capitalise on Darwin’s significantly expanding oil and gas, marine services and defence industries. Nearby, the Darwin Business Park is home to over 100 existing industrial businesses operating in what is considered Darwin’s premiere industrial subdivision, which has room to grow with large size allotments still available for sale and lease.

Oil and gas support functions

By 2018 Darwin will be supporting four LNG trains, with an expected combined annual operational spend of approximately $500 million. A full range of service and support services will be required.

Mining and exploration equipment and technical services

Substantial areas of industrial land adjacent to transport infrastructure is available in Darwin to store equipment and coordinate operations across the Northern Territory.

Military support functions

With more than 6,000 military personnel and substantial army, navy and air force machinery, equipment, ships, planes and vehicles, service contractors could establish lucrative long term contracts supporting the Australian defence industry, as well as forces from other countries that regularly participate in various training activities across the Northern Territory.

Heavy engineering and mechanical maintenance

A diversity of heavy industrial activities requires conveniently located maintenance and service facilities.


A full range of food, clothing and equipment suppliers could be based in Darwin to service a diverse customer base.

Emergency and disaster response capabilities

Established emergency capabilities could be further enhanced to consolidate Darwin as a central base for these services within the ASEAN region.

Aviation services

A variety of remote mining, oil, gas and agriculture operations requires a high level of aviation support.

Aviation industry case study

Helicopter and two aeroplanes parked at airport gates

Bristow Group Inc (a US listed entity) is now the world’s largest operator of rotary-wing aircraft, proudly serving the offshore oil transport industry in major exploration and production arenas for over 60 years. The company has been responsible for many industry-leading technological innovations.

On 29 January 2015 Bristow Helicopters Australia Pty Ltd acquired an 85% share of Airnorth. As both companies were operating in the oil and gas sector, Bristow could offer a one stop charter shop providing customers with an integrated transport solution, taking passengers from home base to the offshore platform and return. The acquisition has created significant growth opportunities for both Bristow and Airnorth, not just in expanding the service offering to the oil and gas industry but also to grow the scheduled airline transport business.

Airnorth is Australia’s second oldest airline, commencing operations on 4 July 1978 (just four days after the Northern Territory achieved self-government). Initially it provided small piston engine aircraft charter services; by the late 1980s it was providing scheduled airline services within the Northern Territory.

Today Airnorth is the largest regional airline in Northern Australia, operating some of the most sophisticated regional jet aircrafts. It provides both scheduled airline services to more than twenty regional communities and contracted charter services to some of the world’s largest mining and energy companies.

Creating the remarkable

Over the years the travel requirements of the Northern Territory Government have helped underpin the demand for Airnorth’s services and provided a sustainable commercial basis for their continued expansion.

Since the acquisition, supply chain synergies have already achieved over US$1 million per annum in operational savings. It has also enabled Bristow to deliver a more cost effective transport solution: reducing client costs on travel, accommodation and other passenger logistics costs and cementing it's position as the world’s leading and most innovative rotary-wing operator.

Marine Supply Base case study

Vessel berthed at wharf with Marine Supply Base sign in foreground

In 2010, the Northern Territory Government recognised that the increasing number of offshore oil and gas projects being supported from Darwin created an opportunity for the development of a dedicated marine supply base, to support vessels servicing offshore platforms and floating LNG facilities.

With the Timor Sea area emerging as the next big frontier in oil and gas production, the Marine Supply Base is well positioned to operate a world-class facility where large operators are expected to utilise the facility for their supply base operations. Shell, ConocoPhillips, Eni and INPEX are among those already indicating their intention to use the Marine Supply Base.

The Marine Supply Base ensures quick turnaround for up to 1,000 rig tenders a year, freeing up common user berth space at Darwin’s East Arm Port - increasing efficiency and productivity and supporting the expansion of trade through the Port of Darwin.

Built by local construction companies, the Marine Supply Base supports 25 direct positions in operation, and more than 170 jobs in the wider community.

Creating the remarkable

Commissioned in May 2014 the Marine Supply Base is owned by the Northern Territory Government and operated by the ASCO Group, a company which specialises in marine logistics and marine supply bases around the world.

The government invested $110 million in three dedicated berths for the offshore supply and service sector and 4,000m2 of hardstand for prepositioning of cargo. This dedicated facility has halved the turnaround time for vessels, from 24 hours to 12 hours.

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