Traditional landowners in the Tiwi Islands say a lawsuit has been filed in the Australian Federal Court to overturn drilling approval for the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) Barossa project.
“It’s our land that’s closest to the drill site. It’s us who are going to be affected,” Tiwi traditional owner Dennis Tipakalippa, one of the plaintiffs in the case, said in a statement on Tuesday. communicated.
Santos and NOPSEMA declined to comment on the lawsuit. NOPSEMA referenced its endorsement of the project, which said “consultation has taken place with those affected as necessary”, including with community bodies such as the Tiwi Land Council and the Northern Land Council.
The traditional owners’ decision comes after a South Korean court last month rejected their request to stop Export-Import Bank of Korea and Korea Trade Insurance Corp from providing loans for the Barossa project pipeline.
Project partners also include private South Korean energy company SK E&S.
The Barossa project, which is due to start producing gas in 2025, plans to build a nearly 260 km (162 mile) pipeline west of the Tiwi Islands that will connect offshore gas facilities to an existing pipeline that goes to Darwin in the Northern Territory.
In the latter case, the traditional owners allege that the drilling will threaten their culture, way of life and food sources, affecting the breeding patterns and nesting grounds of turtles, dugongs and whales.
Santos was required by law to consult with those potentially affected by the drilling plans and because the company failed to do so, NOPSEMA’s decision is invalid, attorneys for the traditional owners said.
Santos said in March that he was engaging in consultations with all major stakeholders for all of his projects.