Australia’s Santos has said it will “vigorously defend” itself against a Federal Court challenge. The company is under fire for a proposed gas pipeline construction, it had hoped to begin today.
Six Tiwi elders have submitted an application to Environment and Water Minister Tanya Plibersek to prevent construction going ahead. A statement from Environmental Defenders Office says there are concerns the pipeline will “traverse an area of significant underwater cultural heritage”.
Australia’s Financial Review reported that the Tiwi had lost their initial claim on October 31. Another hearing was due to be held today, to give Santos more time to respond to the charges.
As of the time of writing, Allseas’ Audacia pipelay vessel remains moored offshore Darwin, according to Marine Traffic.
Santos has disagreed on the impact of the pipeline. It has an expert opinion stating that there are no specific underwater cultural sites on the proposed route.
The pipeline will run from the offshore gas field, 262 km offshore in the Timor Sea. It will carry gas to backfill the Darwin LNG project.
Australia’s NOPSEMA paused pipeline work in January in order to Santos to carry out a heritage assessment. Santos said it respected the cultural heritage of the Tiwi people.
“While we understand and respect there are a range of views about the Barossa gas project, we will vigorously defend Federal Court proceedings”, it said.
If the company completes work on the Barossa pipeline this year, and begins drilling, it can deliver the project on cost and schedule.
Also anchored off Darwin is the Valaris MS 1 drilling rig, which is under contract until August 2024.