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Thursday, 9 December 1971
Page: 4385

Mr CALDER - Can the Minister for National Development advise what developments have occurred concerning the study of the possibility of using Mereenie crude oil through a refinery- in Alice Springs?

Mr SWARTZ - The position at the present time in the Palm Valley-Mereenie area is that the exploration and proving work is continuing. It will take some considerable time to prove the reserves of gas and liquid crude there. In the meantime some discussions have been held and are still continuing between officers of my Department and the companies concerned. The situation is a fairly, complex one because it involves not . only the actual development of the Held itself but also the situation whereby certain areas are allocated . to different marketers in relation to the subsidy provided by the Commonwealth. So careful consideration has to be given to the allocation of certain areas. But the negotiations in relation to the possible development of a small refinery in Alice Springs are continuing. 1. expect that it will be some little time before they will be finalised and it will also be some little time before the extent of the reserves at Mereenie are finally proven. However, as soon as more definite information is available. I will make sure that the honourable member has it immediately.

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