The fight has just begun: Market Forces response to Scarborough-Pluto 2 final investment decision

22 November 2021

Reacting to Woodside and BHP’s announcement of final investment decision on the Scarborough offshore gas field and associated Pluto Train 2 LNG terminal, Market Forces Asset Management Campaigner Will van de Pol said, “the fight against the climate-wrecking Scarborough gas project has only just begun.”

“The Scarborough-Pluto project could release as much carbon as 15 coal power stations running for 30 years. If Woodside, BHP, and their investors think the community will stand idly by while they detonate the biggest oil and gas carbon bomb currently proposed in Australia, they are sorely mistaken.”

“The International Energy Agency has confirmed what climate science has been telling us for years, there is no room for new gas projects if we are to limit warming to 1.5°C. Woodside and BHP’s decision to push ahead with this project prove their stated commitments to the Paris Agreement and net zero emissions are nothing more than greenwash.”

“The project’s regulatory approvals are in a mess, and it is already facing multiple legal challenges. Meanwhile, Woodside has been forced to take on an immense amount of risk to convince partners to get on board. Today’s announcement will only galvanise and spur further action from the organisations and community members that are coming together to keep Scarborough gas in the ground.”

Earlier this month it was revealed NAB was arranging debt for Global Infrastructure Partners’ purchase of a 49% stake in Pluto Train 2, which has proven the catalyst for Woodside to go ahead with final investment decision on the Scarborough-Pluto 2 project. NAB’s lending to facilitate the development of the massive new Scarborough offshore gas field occurred despite the bank’s commitment to the goal of net zero emissions by 2050, and recent update to its gas lending policy.

“All of Australia’s big four banks have loaned to Woodside, BHP, or infrastructure associated with their polluting gas plans, while almost every super fund in the country invests members’ money in these climate-wrecking companies,” said van de Pol.

“Australia’s super fund members and bank customers will not stand for our money being used to fund climate destruction. Financial institutions supporting Woodside and BHP’s dirty Scarborough gas plans will be held to account.”

Further background

  • A Market Forces-coordinated shareholder resolution calling on BHP to manage down fossil fuel production assets in line with its net zero commitment, rather than divest to the likes of Woodside, was supported by over 14% of shareholders earlier in November
  • In April, almost 20% of Woodside shareholders voted for a similar resolution, demanding the company wind up gas and oil production in line with the Paris climate goals
  • Market Forces is proud to be one of the organisations joining with community members around Australia to launch the Say No to Scarborough Gas campaign, made of organisations representing 1.4 million Australians
  • Conservation Council of WA’s 8 November report warns investors and shareholders that environmental and heritage approvals for Woodside’s highly controversial Scarborough project are ‘in a mess’, creating major risks and uncertainty for the project less than two months before a financial investment decision is scheduled by the company.
  • International Energy Agency’s Net Zero by 2050 report (May 2021) found:
    • “There is no need for investment in new fossil fuel supply in our net zero pathway”
    • “No new natural gas fields are needed in the NZE beyond those already under development. Also not needed are many of the liquefied natural gas (LNG) liquefaction facilities currently under construction or at the planning stage.”