The West Australian government has finally decided to prosecute Apache Energy over the Varanus Island explosion in 2008. Many people are asking if the effort is worth the bother as the maximum penalty possible is a measly $A50,000.
Comparing the disruption to the state’s gas supply to the Esso-Longford explosion, which generated a Royal Commission in Victoria, it illustrates the difference in having an explosion in an isolated area, that does not kill or injure, and that allows a government to ensure domestic gas supplies. One could argue that a major difference was also that WA did not rely solely on a single gas source.
According to one media report
Apache spokesman David Parker said it would vigorously defend the matter. “The explosion was an unfortunate and unforeseen event”.
Explosions often are unfortunate and usually unforeseen but adequate maintenance requirements of pipelines are foreseeable, just not often profitable.
Apache Energy, a subsidiary of the US energy giant Apache, has not been the most transparent and helpful corporate citizen as it has taken Federal Court action that impedes the government’s investigations.
More on the Varanus pipeline can be read by searching for “Varanus” in the search function to the right of this blog page