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Origin plans natural gas exit, starting with Beetaloo fracking project

September 19, 2022

Renew Economy:

Origin Energy has announced plans to exit the gas exploration business, starting with its share in the massive and controversial Beetaloo Basin fracking project in the Northern Territory, as it shifts its focus and “ambition” to the renewable energy transition.

While stressing that gas remains a core part of its business, Origin said on Monday that it would divest 100 per cent of its majority share in the Beetaloo project, ahead of exiting its other upstream exploration permits “over time,” excluding its its interests in Australia Pacific LNG.

Origin CEO Frank Calabria says the decision to divest – which on Beetaloo alone will see the gen-tailer incur a $70-$90 million loss – will allow “greater flexibility” to fund its evolving strategic priorities, which are “to grow cleaner energy and customer solutions, and deliver reliable energy through the transition.”

Calabria also points to the risk inherent in developing projects like Beetaloo as a contributing factor to the decision, noting both the uncertainty of the exploration and appraisal phase and the high cost of producing and delivering the gas, should the resource be there to develop.

“Ultimately, we believe Origin is better placed prioritising capital towards other opportunities that are aligned to our refreshed strategy,” Calabria said.

[Sophie Vorrath and Jim Regan]

More: Origin announces exit from gas exploration, starting with Beetaloo Basin

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