As Resources Minister Madeleine King irresponsibly talks up fossil fuel expansions to Japanese and South Korean gas buyers, a second pipeline rupture in a month at Woodside’s Scarborough project shows the company cannot be trusted on safety or environmental protection, the Australian Conservation Foundation said.

A serious incident on Monday reportedly ripped a gaping hole in an underwater pipeline being installed to link the Scarborough offshore gas drilling site to Woodside’s processing facility on shore. A similar incident is believed to have occurred on 2 January 2024.

Meanwhile, Resources Minister King is on a week-long mission to Japan and Korea, talking up Woodside’s Scarborough project and Santos’ Barossa gas project in the Timor Sea.

“This second pipeline rupture in a month shows Woodside cannot be trusted on safety or environmental protection,” said ACF’s exports campaigner Elizabeth Sullivan.

“Woodside’s climate-wrecking Scarborough gas project should not proceed. Even Woodside has conceded the project will result in 878 megatonnes of scope 1 and 3 emissions – and that doesn’t include the pollution from the Pluto 2 expansion.

“It is highly irresponsible of Minister King to promote massive polluting gas projects like Scarborough and Barossa, which are yet to gain various regulatory approvals and will add to the world’s escalating climate crisis.

“Australia, Japan and nearly 200 other countries last year agreed at COP28 to accelerate the phase out of fossil fuels. Minister King’s gas promotional trip flies in the face of that commitment.”

The controversial Scarborough project is currently under consideration to receive funding from Japan’s export credit agency, JBIC.

ACF’s case asking the Federal Court to stop the project until its impact on the Great Barrier Reef is assessed will be go to trial on 2 September 2024.

Although gas from Scarborough would be extracted off the coast of WA and much of it burned overseas, ACF will argue it would affect the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland by fuelling climate change, which is causing repeated coral bleaching events on the reef.

Header pic: Xanthi Rivett

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