A major gas lobby says no fracking will occur in the Northern Territory's Beetaloo Basin without consent. 

Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) CEO Andrew McConville has spoken at a Senate inquiry into fracking in the basin this week.

He said gas companies cannot operate on land without permission. 

“No oil and gas exploration, and no production of oil and gas, can be undertaken without the consent of traditional owners or the pastoralists,” Mr McConville told the inquiry.

Mr McConville also spoke about independent reviews that “pointed to hydraulic fracturing being able to be safely conducted in Australia”.

The hearing also heard from traditional owner Johnny Wilson, who lives within 20 kilometres of fracking wells in the Beetaloo.

Mr Wilson, who chairs the Nurrdalinji Native Title Aboriginal Corporation, said that mining companies had not gone far enough to consult with traditional owners.

“Our concerns have not been heard throughout the Beetaloo Basin,” he said.

“We are so concerned for our Country, our water, our sacred sites, and our cultural heritage, which we know will be damaged if fracking goes ahead.

“Our elders before, when mining giants came to sign off agreements, they never quite fully understood the full impact of fracking and what it will do to our Country.”

Many of the speakers at the hearing raised fears that gas production would cause pollution and increase Australia's carbon emissions to unacceptable levels.

Dan Robins from anti-fracking collective Lock The Gate Alliance, raised an alleged “conflict of interest” between Shaun Drabsch, the CEO of the Northern Territory's Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade, and his former employer gas giant Santos. 

“Some of the conflicts of interest that we've seen at a Northern Territory level... [include] politicians who work for Santos one day, and then work for the Northern Territory government the next,” Mr Robins told the inquiry. 

“Shaun Drabsch, who oversees most of the decisions around planning and environment, worked as a consultant for Santos in the Northern Territory, and he hadn't even updated his work résumé before he was working for the NT.”

Mr Drabsch confirmed he had worked for Santos. 

“It is a fact that for one of my 40 years of work, I was employed as a consultant by gas company Santos,” he told the inquiry. 

Mr Drabsch coordinated Santos’ participation in consultations led by the Territory government following a major fracking inquiry.

A report from the inquiry is due to be handed down on April 21.