Credit: ConocoPhillips (File Photo) – ConocoPhillips sold its stake in the Barossa project to Santos in 2020
Santos was told by a court on Wednesday to halt its pipeline project around 70 kilometers north of the Tiwi Islands pending a final ruling, although it was allowed to begin laying gas pipelines for a section of its $3.6 billion Barossa gas project.
The ruling comes after a traditional land owner from the Tiwi Islands lodged proceedings with the Federal Court of Australia to halt the pipeline works until its impact and risk to underwater cultural heritage were properly assessed.
Elders on the Islands had earlier urged Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek to make a declaration to protect their heritage, which they said was at immediate risk of desecration from the construction.
Earlier this month, the court had granted an interim injunction preventing Santos from starting work on laying undersea pipelines at the project.
The new ruling by the court now states that Santos can commence pipeline activities on an 86-kilometer section of pipeline for the project, but not develop around 70 kilometers north of the Tiwi Islands.
The court has set December 4 as the date of the hearing of the application brought by the traditional land owner, Santos said.
Santos, which said it was committed to delivering the Barossa gas project with the aim of producing gas in the first half of 2025, said it intends to vigorously defend the proceedings.
(Reuters – Reporting by John Biju in Bengaluru; Editing by Varun H K and Nivedita Bhattacharjee)