BPH Energy clears next hurdle in Scott Morrison legal stoush

Fri 03 Feb 23, 11:31am (AEST)
Politics - Australian national parliament house in Canberra
Source: iStock

Key Points

  • BPH Energy holds the now-cancelled PEP11 oil and gas licence offshore NSW
  • Scott Morrison refused to extend the licence ahead of the 2022 federal election; BPH has been suing the federal government
  • Both parties have filed orders to scrap the decision not to extend the licence in exchange for BPH Energy foregoing a move to trial

On Friday, BPH Energy (ASX:BPH) confirmed it had filed orders in the Federal Court seeking to cancel and vary the conditions currently keeping PEP11 dead in the water. 

In return, BPH will forgo its erstwhile plan to move ahead to a trial, which could potentially see Scott Morrison called as a witness. 

“The proposed orders seek to end the ongoing litigation concerning PEP 11 without the need for a trial. The consent orders will only be made if the Federal Court of Australia considers it appropriate,” the company wrote.

“The consent orders, if granted, will set aside…a refusal to grant an extension of term.”

Quick recap of events 

Last year, ahead of the 2022 Federal Election, Scott Morrison (as self-appointed Federal resources minister) effectively cancelled the licence by refusing an extension to the licence.

The former Prime Minister’s full role in the decision was outlined in an exclusive by reporters at the Saturday Paper last November.  

The PEP11 project faced (and will likely still face) predictable environmental opposition. The ALP aren’t too friendly on the project, either, despite Australia’s palpable requirement for energy supply chain security. 

Big win for a smallcap 

The general thrust of BPH’s lawsuit is that ScoMo cancelled PEP11 as an improper personal strategy decision. In that vein, the lawsuit is a first-of-its-kind. 

“PEP 11 continues in force and the Joint Venture is in compliance with the contractual terms of PEP 11 with respect to such matters as reporting, payment of rents and the various provisions of the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006,” the company added on Friday. 

BPH's three month charts. Shares were suspended in mid-December 2022 over an unrelated and still unresolved matter regarding a reserves estimate
BPH's three month charts. Shares were suspended in mid-December 2022 over an unrelated and still unresolved matter regarding a reserves estimate
Disclaimer: Market Index helps small-cap ASX listed companies connect with Australian investors through clear and concise articles on key developments. BPH was a client at the time of publishing. All coverage contains factual information only and should not be interpreted as an opinion or financial advice.


Written By

Jonathon Davidson

Finance Writer

Jonathon is a journalism graduate and avid market watcher with exposure to governance, NGO and mining environments. He was most recently hired as an oil and gas specialist for a trade publication.

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