Huge Australian barn in legal dispute with energy suppliers over onshore hydraulic fracturing

Barn landowner Rallen Australia courts leading natural gas supplier Santos for allegedly misleading stakeholders about the extent of hydraulic fracturing work in the Beataloo basin, located between Tennant Creek and Catherine. I brought it to.

Two of Australia’s largest companies appeared in the Northern Territory (NT) Supreme Court on Monday, and Laren accused Santos of not properly informing landowners of the expansion of the hydraulic fracturing business. NT News report.

Santos was agreed to obtain permission to drill nine wells at Tanunbilini Station near Daily Waters, but gas suppliers have an Environmental Management Plan (EMP) to accommodate two additional wells. I submitted a revision of.

Marcus Pesman, Rallen’s senior counsel, told the court that Santos is obliged to notify stakeholders of the revised plan.

“One (email) statement was the sum of the stakeholder involvement that Santos made after being informed about the substantial new risks,” he said.

In response, QC representative Jonathan Horton of Santos, although he accepted, did not pay attention to the revised EMP, but the problem was not a regulatory breach, but “honestly in terms of consumer law.” He said that he would be subject to stricter penalties.

According to Santos, landowners would have had a reasonable assumption that a revised plan was needed.

However, Judge Judith Kelly replied in Laren’s submission that he “reasonably expects Santos to comply with the law.”

“If you didn’t tell them, how would they know that you were going to engage in the required activity (EMP)?” She asked.

In response, Houghton said there was extensive consultation with former land managers. One of them was the stationmaster who continued to work for Laren after purchasing the property.

Fracturing, an abbreviation for hydraulic fracturing, is an excavation method for extracting natural gas or oil from underground shale formations by injecting a liquid at high pressure. Drilling into rock formations can be done vertically or horizontally, the latter allowing the creation of new paths or the expansion of existing channels.

Proponents argue that the rapid growth of oil and gas production using hydraulic fracturing is revitalizing the energy sector and providing a sustainable route for the industry.

However, the Protect Country Alliance, an NT advocate consisting of landowners, communities and civil society groups, has launched a campaign against hydraulic fracturing in the Northern Territory.

“Hydraulic fracturing of shale and tight gas is a very water-consuming practice and also uses a variety of dangerous and toxic chemicals,” the Alliance said in a blog post. Website..

“One UN report reports that a single hydraulic fracturing operation in a shale gas well uses 11 to 34 million liters of water, about 360 to 1100 trucks of water. Where does this water come from now? , Or there is no public information about what it means to be removed from the groundwater system or surface water system. The risk to groundwater is the Beataloo area, where the Tindal Formation waters towns, houses, agriculture and cattle industries. Is of particular concern. “

Alliance quotes analysis From a US study claiming that potentially carcinogenic chemicals can escape during drilling and contaminate nearby groundwater.

However, the US industry has attributed pollution cases to bad practices, rather than hydraulic fracturing as a dangerous method.

In 2016, the Northern Territory government set hydraulic fracturing as a moratorium in fears that drilling methods could be harmful to the environment. However, the 2018 Gunner administration study He argued that risk was manageable as long as the government tightly regulated the industry.

Steve Milne