The Northern Territory government ditched a net zero emissions proposal for new onshore gas developments following industry pushback, new documents have revealed.
A five-year moratorium on territory natural gas projects was lifted in May when the government claimed that submitted plans had met the recommendations of an inquiry into fracking.
New documents obtained under freedom of information laws show the NT government consulted with gas companies in October last year about meeting a key recommendation from the inquiry, requiring new gas projects not contribute to further emissions.
The FOI documents did not reveal any other private consultation and there were no public consultations held.
Santos, Empire Energy, Inpex, Hancock Prospecting and Top End Energy were all notified the government had "provided in-principle support to a policy" requiring gas companies to "achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions for all upstream onshore shale gas production activities in the territory."
Before filing her cabinet submission, NT Environment Minister Lauren Moss "requested (their) views on this proposed approach, and sought information about how the approach would fit with (their) plans to manage emissions from onshore shale gas produced in the Territory."
The companies objected to the proposed policy, with Empire Energy - a Beetaloo Basin lease holder - saying it held "numerous, serious concerns" about the implementation of recommendation 9.8.
Santos executive Robert Malinauskas wrote a five-page letter to the department in response, warning the policy could mean the Beetaloo project would be delayed or "not proceed at all".
"It is our strong belief that the most effective and efficient way to Australia and the NT achieving their targets of net zero emissions by 2050 is to allow industry to find the best ways to decarbonise their businesses," Mr Malinauskas wrote.
Natural gas processing company Inpex wrote to Ms Moss about "a number of concerns", including increased costs and fears a "potential precedent" could be applied to other gas industry projects.
The policy was ultimately scrapped and when NT Chief Minister Natasha Fyles lifted the moratorium in May, three recommendations - including 9.8 - were passed onto the federal government, which is yet to declare whether they will be met.
Djingili elder and Director of Nurrdalinji Aboriginal Corporation, which represents Traditional Owners from the Beetaloo Basin, Janet Gregory said she was not consulted about the policy.
"We have been saying for decades that fracking will damage our country and poison our water, but the government talks to the gas companies and doesn't listen or talk to us," she told AAP.
"The government is doing all they can to get the projects over the line and gas companies are only interested in their own profits and their so-called reputation."
The NT government defended the consultation process with Environment Minister Kate Worden arguing it "would be misleading to suggest that a single viewpoint was considered in the development."
She said the views of other stakeholders, including environmental groups and land councils, were "well documented" through consultations on other policies and industry would be subject to a high regulatory bar.
Australian Associated Press