In a recent development, Santos, the Australian energy company, has been directed by the Federal Court of Australia to temporarily suspend its pipeline project, located approximately 70 kilometers north of the Tiwi Islands. This decision follows legal proceedings initiated by a traditional landowner seeking to halt the pipeline works until a thorough assessment of its impact and risks to underwater cultural heritage is conducted.
The court's ruling allows Santos to proceed with laying gas pipelines for an 86-kilometer section of its $3.6 billion Barossa gas project. However, activities around the specified northern area of the Tiwi Islands are temporarily halted pending a final decision. Elders on the Tiwi Islands had previously urged Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek to intervene, expressing concerns about the immediate risk of desecration to their heritage due to construction activities.
Earlier this month, the court had granted an interim injunction preventing Santos from commencing work on undersea pipelines for the Barossa project. The court has scheduled a hearing on December 4, 2023, to address the application filed by the traditional landowner. Santos remains committed to delivering the Barossa gas project, targeting the production of gas in the first half of 2025, and has expressed its intention to vigorously defend against the legal proceedings.