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'We want to be good neighbours'

Darwin in Australia’s Northern Territory has almost become a second home for Japanese giant Inpex, housing the company’s flagship Ichthys liquefied natural gas development, writes Josh Lewis.

Highlighting the importance of the former frontier outpost to the company is the fact Inpex hosted its first-ever board meeting outside of Japan in the Northern Territory’s capital city last week.

“We take our commitment to the Northern Territory very seriously and we are delighted to be in Darwin for our first ever board meeting held outside of Japan,” Inpex chief executive Takayuki Ueda said.

“We are using this opportunity to reinforce our support for local people and communities, visit our state-of-the-art Ichthys LNG onshore processing facilities and to discuss opportunities for further expansion of our business in Australia.”

Speaking to media ahead of the meeting, Ueda said that with the Ichthys facilities to have at least a 40-year life, Inpex also wanted to be “a good corporate citizen” in Australia.

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This saw the company last week strengthen its commitments in the Territory to include six new scholarships at Charles Darwin University for Northern Territory students who are enrolled in full-time undergraduate courses relevant to the oil and gas industry.

“The education of our next generation and building the capability of our future workforce locally in the Northern Territory is very important to us — it’s one way that we can create shared value for the community and our industry,” Ueda said.

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This builds on the more than $3.4 million Inpex has invested in Northern Territory community organisations and initiatives since 2012.

The company also last year signed a $24 million benefits agreement with the Larrakia people, with the initial focus of the deal on education initiatives and the support of elderly members of the community.

Inpex says the 40-year agreement is considered to be the most significant long-term package of benefits and opportunities provided outside of Native Title obligations.

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