Santos’ work on an offshore pipeline has been partly paused by court action. 

Following a ruling handed down in the Federal Court last week, Santos has been barred from starting work on the southern section of the underwater pipeline to the NT’s Tiwi Islands, but work on the northern section of the pipeline further offshore has been allowed to continue.

Santos has responded to the court decision,  which allows pipelay activities on an 86-kilometre section of the Barossa Gas Export Pipeline (GEP) but prohibits work south of kilometre point 86. 

The court has scheduled a hearing for December 4, 2023, based on an application by Jikilaruwu traditional owner Simon Munkara and two others. 

They seek to halt Santos until the company revises its environmental plan, engaging in re-consultation and gaining approval from NOPSEMA. Santos says it is committed to defending against these proceedings. 

Munkara alleges potential harm to submerged Tiwi cultural heritage, emphasising the impact on burial sites, dreaming tracks, and songlines. 

Represented by the Environmental Defenders Office (EDO), the traditional owners argue for proper consultation.

Santos claims it has been in compliance with NOPSEMA's General Direction from January 2023. 

An expert anthropologist reportedly found no underwater cultural heritage places after extensive research involving Tiwi people and various studies. 

Australian Energy Producers Chief Executive Samantha McCulloch has urged government intervention, citing damage to economic and energy security. 

More details are available here.