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NT fracking tenements part owned by Russian oligarch must be scrapped

Protect Country Alliance is calling on the NT Gunner Government to immediately scrap gas exploration tenements part owned by Falcon Oil and Gas, and therefore part owned by Russian Oligarch Viktor Vekelsberg, in line with escalating international sanctions.

The Alliance also calls on the Morrison Government to back its own sanctions rhetoric by declaring no public subsidies will be used to Falcon’s benefit while it maintains links with Russian oligarchs.

Through its joint venture with fellow fracking company Origin Energy, Falcon Oil & Gas Ltd (22.5%) owns 4.6 million acres of exploration tenements in the heart of the Northern Territory. Falcon is 16% owned by a company (Lamesa S.A), which is controlled by Viktor Vekelsberg, who was already subject to international sanctions over Russia’s 2018 invasion of Crimea.

The call comes just days after Morrison Government Resources Minister Keith Pitt re-announced plans to grant millions to fracking companies hoping to exploit the Territory.

Protect Country Alliance spokesperson Graeme Sawyer said the Federal Government should rule out any subsidies to Falcon Oil and Gas.

“The Morrison Government needs to rule out any public subsidies for Falcon Oil and Gas, given its tie up with Russian oligarch Victor Vekelsberg and the NT Gunner Government should urgently reconsider the grant of fracking exploration licences,” he said.

“Fracking is bad enough, but subsidising gas developments as the world moves to sanction Russia over its attack on Ukraine would be diabolical.   

“Fracking isn’t going to benefit the average Australian, and most Territorians will get nothing from it except for grief as the industry disrupts communities, pollutes water, and lays waste to existing sustainable businesses. 

“The only people who stand to benefit are people like Viktor Vekelsberg.

“The world no longer needs polluting oil and gas. The Morrison Government must stop subsidising this industry and join the European push to accelerate renewables to break the power of the fossil fuel industry which is distorting democracy globally.

“We must accelerate the move away from fracking for gas and oil - the connections this industry has to Russian oligarchs is just another reason to speed up that process.”

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