SANTOS shareholders are poised to vote on a resolution calling for the company to scrap its controversial $2 billion coal seam gas project at Narrabri.
The Wilderness Society has secured sufficient investor support to get the item placed on the agenda of Friday’s annual general meeting in Adelaide.
While the motion is expected to be resoundingly defeated, it will allow anti-coal seam gas proponents to directly address the board and shareholders.
Coonamble farmer Anne Kennedy will make the trek to Adelaide and speak first, by virtue of proxy, about the concerns held by landholders in the region.
“I think (the Narrabri Gas Project) is wrong from a shareholder’s perspective because it’s highly risky, both for the company and for the community,” she said.
“We’re just the most normal, conservative old farmers and I know for a fact that it will destroy the water because I’ve done enough of my own research.
“I’ve spoken to enough of the top scientists and the top people in the field – the groundwater engineers – and it will destroy the water.”
In the coming weeks Santos will lodge an application to drill 850 wells in and around the Pilliga Forest to extract gas to meet 25 to 50 per cent of the state’s needs.
The company, in advice to shareholders, says the project has “broad support in the Narrabri region” and it had been the victim of a “substantial fear and misinformation campaign”.
It points out that just 161 shareholders, holding only 0.0475 per cent of the shares on issue, were behind the move to get the resolution on the agenda.
“The board respects the right of shareholders to requisition a resolution which seeks to move that the company withdraw from the Narrabri Gas Project,” Santos said.
“However, the board does not consider the resolution to be in the best interests of the company and is recommending that shareholders vote against the resolution.”
Santos also notes that even if the resolution did pass, it would be “advisory rather than binding” and the final decision would rest with the company’s management.