Santos rejects demands for halt of CSG project

OIL and gas exploration company Santos has rejected requests by shareholders to stop its coal seam gas project in the Pilliga State Forest in New South Wales.

Sadie Davidson

Santos dismissed claims that there were ongoing reputational, regulatory and investment risks and said shareholders had been misled by extremist activist groups.

The company was presented with a shareholder resolution, which claims: “The Narrabri coal seam gas project presents too many risks to that brand and to investors’ confidence in our company’s portfolio”

The resolution adds that the CSG project “threatens Santos' reputation and makes our company look like a rogue operator”

It follows revelations by Fairfax Media last week that leaking wastewater from a Santos site had raised uranium levels in groundwater to 20 times the safe drinking standards.

Santos was fined $A1500 by the environmental protection agency but it still maintained its testing showed the contamination was limited in scope and would not affect aquifers tapped for humans or livestock use in the area.

Santos corporate communications manager Chandran Vigneswaran told the Canberra Times that opponents of the company’s CSG operations “continue to misrepresent the truth to communities in their drive to stop the development of Australia's resources”

Santos shares are down about 7% in 2014 compared with about a 1% gain for the ASX 200 benchmark share index.