Jobs Events Advertise

Santos given green-light for Barossa drilling project

Neve Brissenden -

Santos has been given the green light to begin drilling works in the Timor sea, although the Barossa project's gas pipeline is still the subject of a court dispute.

A group of Tiwi Islands traditional owners won a Federal Court bid last year to throw out the drilling approval at the multimillion-dollar gas field 265km northwest of Darwin.

The court ordered Santos to resubmit an environmental plan to the regulator that properly consulted with Tiwi traditional owners.

The National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority accepted the revised drilling plan late on Friday.

"Santos has conducted further extensive consultation with Tiwi Island people and other relevant persons consistent with the applicable regulations," the gas giant said on Monday.

While Santos can technically begin the drilling portion of the project, the validity of the gas pipeline is still being debated in the Federal Court.

Tiwi Islander Simon Munkara filed a challenge to the pipeline plans days before work was due to start in October, saying it would damage sea country and songlines.

Mr Munkara is arguing Santos has not properly assessed submerged cultural heritage along the route of its Barossa export pipeline, which runs within seven kilometres of Bathurst Island.

The company plans to extract natural gas from the Barossa field and transport it through pipelines to an existing liquefied natural gas facility in the Northern Territory.

Santos had hoped to begin laying the pipeline in November to keep the project on track for its first gas target in 2025, while waiting for NOPSEMA to approve the updated environmental plan for the drilling activity.

The new injunction, in force until mid-January allows Santos to work on the pipeline in an area about 75km north of the Tiwi Islands and further afield.

Mr Munkara argues the pipeline poses a significant new impact or risk to Tiwi underwater cultural heritage that was not assessed in Santos' original environment plan for the pipeline approved by NOPSEMA, the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority.

If a significant new impact or risk arises, the law requires a titleholder to submit a proposed revision of an environment plan to the regulator for approval before work can continue.

The drilling approval comes as Santos confirms it is in talks with Woodside Energy on a potential $80 billion merger.

Woodside's $16.5 billion Scarborough gas project in Western Australia has also been delayed, with some parts of the project still waiting for regulatory approvals.

In midday trading, Woodside is down 0.2 per cent in the ASX to $30.51, and Santos is down 1.5 per cent to $7.635.

Neve Brissenden - AAP


'Concerning' NT land council referred to integrity body
The federal government is set to investigate allegations of misconduct at the Anindilyakwa Land Council after a damning audit....
Neve Brissenden 24 Feb 2024
Victorian First Peoples Art and Design Fair looks to bring 'whole gamut' on debut in 2025
Inaugural Victorian First Peoples Arts and Design Fair senior project manager Janina Harding has “big plans” for seeing creative...
Jarred Cross 24 Feb 2024
Rolfe recorded 46 use-of-force incidents during stint
A Northern Territory police officer who shot dead an Indigenous teenager recorded 46 use-of-force incidents between 2016 and 201...
Neve Brissenden 23 Feb 2024
Man involved in Old Parliament House fire avoids prison
A man involved in a blaze at Old Parliament House that caused millions of dollars in damage has been sentenced to an 18-month su...

   Neve Brissenden   

Partner sues prisons over Indigenous inmate's death
A woman is suing the NSW prison system and inmate healthcare service over the death in custody of her partner after a coroner fo...
Duncan Murray 15 Feb 2024
Uluru resort could hit the market as owners mull sale
The Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation is exploring options for the Ayers Rock Resort, the only place for tourists to stay when...
Rudi Maxwell 15 Feb 2024
Darlington set for National Indigenous Cricket Championships return
Australian international Hannah Darlington is set to return to the National Indigenous Cricket Championships after being selecte...
Callan Morse 15 Feb 2024
Tasmania to field youthful men’s squad at National Indigenous Cricket Championships
Tasmania has announced a youthful men’s squad for this year’s National Indigenous Cricket Championships, the tournament set to t...
Callan Morse 15 Feb 2024