MARKETS

Santos defends Narrabri project again

SANTOS believes the Wilderness Society is behind a tiny activist shareholder group’s resolution to scrap the Narrabri CSG project – a proposal that is likely to be shot down at the company’s annual general meeting on May 16.

Blair Price
Santos defends Narrabri project again

The resolution, applied under section 249N of the Corporations Act on Friday, was backed by 161 shareholders who collectively hold just a 0.0475% stake of Santos.

“The board understands that the requisition has been promoted by The Wilderness Society as part of its anti-fossil fuels campaign,” Santos said.

Among its reasons for why the Narrabri project is in the interests of Santos, its shareholders and the broader community, the company said it could end up supplying 25-50% of the natural gas used in New South Wales by homes, small businesses, major industries and electricity generators.

“The Narrabri gas project is currently subject to a substantial fear and misinformation campaign,” Santos said.

“The recent legacy holding pond incident at Bibblewindi is an example where the NSW government and the [Environment Protection Authority] found that the leak was ‘small, localised and contained’ and there was no harm to either humans or animals, yet the incident has been portrayed as a major pollution event threatening drinking and irrigation water supplies.”

In an opinion piece published in the Sydney Morning Herald on Monday, Wilderness Society national director Lyndon Schneiders went to the extreme of comparing Santos to “failed timber giant Gunns as one whose driving ambitions led to its demise on the backs of delays, bad press and environmental risk”

While the Narrabri matter will be considered during a scheduled AGM, not creating significant expense, the Australian Financial Review reported this week that the federal government aimed to pass reforms that required shareholders to own at least 5% capital to call an extraordinary general meeting.

Such a reform is expected to reduce red tape and costs plus set back activist shareholders.

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