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Origin puts the spin on Native Titleholder consent

09 Jan 2020 12:38 PM | Sonia Harvey (Administrator)

Watch Origin's Beetaloo Exploration video here

ORIGIN Energy has responded to allegations it did not properly consult stakeholders in the Beetaloo Sub-basin by releasing a video on social media platforms with testimonies from various Native Title Holders.

Social license issues and community condemnation has plagued Origin since the Northern Territory Gunner government lifted a moratorium on fraccing following the extensive Pepper environmental review.

The video released by the company shows Native Titleholders apparently giving their blessing for Origin's plans due to new employment opportunities.

"Opportunity wise and workwise, I think it is good that the gas industry is looking for people like us in the middle of the sticks because we don't get much, you know, contracts out here," title holder Gordon Jackson said, quoted in a tweet from Origin.  

The praise comes after Origin delivered a new football oval for the town of Elliott in the NT.

"There's not much opportunities, especially when you're a kid. We have a big dream but no opportunity to go places so your dreams and who you wanted to be dies then," Ben Ulamari said in an online video.

Ulamari said there were now more opportunities to have choices in life.

"We look after well sites in the Beetaloo Basin, so well checks all that sort of stuff. We also look after the airstrip."

Ulamari's sentiment is shared by fellow titleholder Pompey Raymond, who said when he was "born on the Beetaloo" his community had no school or money.

"[Gas development] is right for me. There's work for some of those young fellas," Raymond said.

Origin, which became operator of several exploration permits in the Beetaloo in 2014, said it would continue to work "constructively, transparently and in good faith," with Traditional Owners that held Native Title Holder status.

The company is required to provide its planned work programs a year in advance to the Northern Land Council and Native Title Holders to allow for community consultation.

According to Origin, the timing allows for consideration of sacred site avoidance and clearance surveys to be completed and certified by law.

Last year Origin and Falcon faced severe backlash from pastoralists and environmental campaign group Lock the Gate.

In November Lock the Gate and several pastoralists near Origin's operations condemned the Territory government for not passing land access agreement legislation which would require oil and gas explorers to reach an agreement with pastoralists before accessing leases.

The regime was supposed to be implemented before Origin spud its Kyalla well and included a series of minimum mandatory provisions on how pastoral leasers should be compensated for the impact exploration and production operations would have on their properties.

Origin also faced unprecedented pushback from minority activist shareholders at its annual meeting in October, such as the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility.

It claimed Origin had not properly consulted key Native Title Holders, however their allegations were based on indigenous people from other areas of Northern Territory, not direct Native Title Holders.

Separately Bullwaddy Pastoral Company, which operates the Amungee Station near Daly Waters close to Origin's leases, took Origin to court over drilling plans arguing the joint venture had not conducted thorough consultation with stakeholders.

The case was withdrawn from the Supreme Court after a meeting between the two parties.

Origin (70%) and its Irish joint venture partner Falcon Oil & Gas (30%) recently hit gas at the Kyalla 117 N2 appraisal well, with initial evaluations of the vertical section of the well intersecting three source rock reservoir sections within the Kyalla Shale Formation with a thickness measuring almost 900 metres.

All three sections exhibited "elevated gas shows with relatively high C3, C4, and C5," according to the venture.

Source: Energy News Bulletin

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