Subsidiary of Empire Energy, which has close ties to the Liberal party, would be given $21m under drilling program

The federal minister for resources and water, Keith Pitt, will press ahead on plans to open up the Beetaloo Basin in the Northern Territory to fracking by giving taxpayer money to oil and gas companies despite a legal challenge to the government’s program.

Under the proposed Beetaloo Cooperative Drilling Program, Imperial Oil and Gas – a wholly owned subsidiary of Empire Energy that has close ties to the Liberal party – would be given $21m.

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