BPH Energy explores legal options over PEP11 permit

Offshore gas drilling rig in the ocean with beautiful pink and blue sunset behind it (merger)
Offshore gas platform (Image: Shutterstock)

BPH Energy said it was conducting a review of options, including potential for legal avenues, after reports said former Prime Minister Scott Morrison used his power to block its PEP11 exploration project of the company, Reuters reports.

Morrison secretly appointed himself minister for home affairs and treasury during the COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to the health, finance and resources portfolios previously revealed, current Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said last week. 

The former prime minister said last week that he had used his power as the resources minister to stop approval for BPH Energy’s PEP11 gas exploration project off the coast of Australia, which was opposed by local communities and Members of Parliament. 

Related article: Surfers back Bill to ban offshore drilling in Victoria

Asset Energy, a subsidiary of BPH Energy, holds an 85 per cent stake in the Sydney Basin oil and gas project, PEP11 or Petroleum Exploration Permit 11, while ASX-listed Bounty Oil and Gas owns the remaining 15 per cent interest.

Morrison’s decision to refuse an extension of the PEP-11 permit for offshore drilling was challenged in court by Asset Energy in June.

Surfers for Climate Action was heavily involved in community opposition to PEP11, which led to the former PM publicly opposing the project in March.

Surfers for Climate Action co-director Belinda Baggs said, I thank the Federal Government for listening to our calls and having the sense to make a decision that will benefit the people who live along this coast and keep this pocket of fossil fuels underground.”

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