The Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR) is commenting on Origin’s (ASX: ORG) recent announcement that it will divest 100% of its interest in the Beetaloo Basin to Tamboran (ASX: TBN), along with an intention to exit all upstream exploration permits “over time”, following a strategic review. This excludes its Australia Pacific LNG interests.
Commenting on the announcement, Harriet Kater, Climate Lead at the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR) said:
“Origin’s recently released Climate Transition Action Plan consistently skirted around its exploration business, for which it allocated 19% capex in FY22.
“And now we know why. Divestment of fossil fuel assets does not reduce emissions - it just shifts them - almost always to even less responsible owners.
“Origin will still receive up to 36.5 petajoules of gas per annum from a successful Beetaloo development, so is still directly invested in Beetaloo’s development.
“With the gas offtake and 5% royalty payments, this is more like a conscious uncoupling than full throttle divorce from the Beetaloo Basin.
“This is just more greenwashing. Divestment is not a solution to reducing real world emissions. Divestment is simply passing the hot potato to the next asset holder.
“Origin describes Tamboran as an operator that is committed to developing these gas resources. Gas production from the Beetaloo would unleash hundreds of millions of tonnes of CO2 over the coming decades.
“Origin has faced years of sustained local opposition, reputational damage, restrictive environmental regulations and high costs by persisting with its exploration in the Beetaloo basin. It is surprising it took so long to exit the project.
“In announcing a $70-90m loss, Origin is also showing that its exploration strategy has not been in investors’ interests.
“Rather than seeking further buyers, Origin should commit to wind down its permits in the Canning, Cooper and Browse basins.
“The structure of the Beetaloo divestment means that Tamboran inherits the major governance risks associated with being in a joint venture with Falcon Oil and Gas, which is part owned by sanctioned Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg.”