- Federal Court announced the decision in favour of Tiwi Islanders.
- Tiwi Islanders had argued that Santos didn’t consult them on the Barossa gas project.
- Santos will suspend drilling activities as per the court’s decision.
Tiwi Islanders won a federal court case against Santos Ltd (ASX:STO) with respect to its AU$4.7 billion Barossa gas project in the Timor Sea north of Darwin. The islanders had argued that the energy company did not consult them regarding the impact of the gas project.
On 21 September 2022, through ASX announcement, Santos shared the decision by Justice Mordecai Bromberg of the Federal Court. Reportedly, the court set aside the acceptance by NOPSEMA (National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority) of an environment plan that covers drilling and completion activities related to the Barossa Gas Project. NOPSEMA is an offshore oil and gas regulator.
Details of the Federal Court’s decision
As per the ASX announcement, the drilling activities that were to take place at a site in the Timor Sea, located around 410kms north of the Tiwi Islands, would now be suspended as per the Court’s decision.
Santos informed the market that the Court’s decision is based on the finding that NOPSEMA failed to analyse whether the company consulted with everyone who were required to be consulted.
Santos termed the court decision as “disappointing outcome”.
“Santos engaged about the proposed drilling activities with the Tiwi Land Council, a representative body with statutory authority under the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976. Similarly, Santos had engaged about the proposed drilling activities with the Northern Land Council, the Native Title representative body for the Tiwi Islands. NOPSEMA had accepted our efforts to consult with Tiwi Islanders in accordance with the Regulations when it decided to accept the Environment Plan for those activities,” Santos said.
Barossa gas project
Barossa gas project is an AU$4.7 billion project and almost 46% complete. Santos said that the drilling activities were not at a critical stage. Also, the drilling activities have headroom in the project cost contingency.
Share performance of Santos
On 23 September 2022, at 12:44 PM AEST, Santos shares were spotted trading 4% lower from its previous close at AU$7.44 per share. Including this fall, the share price fell by 4.25% in the past six months. On a year-to-date basis, the share price has surged by 12.56%. The yearly gain is 14.64%. In the last five years, Santos’ share price reported a growth of a whopping 85.07%.