3D printing technology could soon have a place in remote oil and gas operations after the federal government agreed to inject $1.8 million into the energy sector to deliver new technologies.

The government will provide funding for seven new projects that are backed by oil and gas, coal and uranium operators through industry-matched funding.

The scheme will operate via the industry-led National Energy Resources Australia group.

Projects include a revolutionary metal 3D printing technology that can operate at 1000 times the speed of conventional 3D printing at a fraction of the cost.

Technology developer SPEE3D, Charles Darwin University and industry partner INPEX are involved in the project.

The technology “has the potential to revolutionise industrial activities in remote areas” by allowing onsite metal part production, NERA says.

Operators could fabricate parts on site and limit costly delays associated with downtimes — potentially savings tens of millions of dollars.

Other projects were funded to increase understanding of regions including the Great Artesian Basin in Queensland – one of the world’s largest groundwater resources which stretches across more than 20 per cent of Australia.

The Perth Basin in Western Australia is also a focus, with junior oil and gas explorer Whitebark Energy (ASX:WBE) involved in helping develop systems to monitor water, soil, atmospheric and seismic conditions to measure the impact of past and future oil and gas activities in the northern Perth Basin.

From this, a publicly-available scientific database will be established to provide baseline methane data to enable ongoing monitoring.

“Projects that receive NERA funding are selected to deliver results on a national scale and have sector-wide impact, assisting the energy resources sector unlock a potential $10 billion in value that NERA has identified,” chief Miranda Taylor said.

The successful projects will receive co-funding from NERA’s $15.6 million Project Fund, upon the formalising of contracts.