Origin Energy (Origin) advises that it has received guidance from the Australian Sanctions Office (ASO) confirming that Origin’s exploration activities in the Northern Territory’s Beetaloo Basin do not breach Australian sanctions laws.

Origin had sought guidance from the ASO, which is part of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), following the recent designation of Mr Viktor Vekselberg. Mr Vekselberg is a beneficiary of the foundation which holds 100 per cent of the shares in Lamesa Holdings, a minority shareholder of Falcon Oil & Gas Limited, the parent company of Origin’s junior joint venture partner in the Beetaloo Basin.

The ASO’s assessment is that an asset is not currently being directly or indirectly made available to, or for the benefit of, Mr Vekselberg (as designated person) through the Beetaloo joint venture’s activities.

Origin’s head of Integrated Gas, Mr Andrew Thornton said, “We welcome the timely assessment by DFAT and will focus on completing our Beetaloo exploration program commitments by drilling and testing a further two wells.

“While no gas is currently being produced and no revenue is being generated, Origin will continue to exercise diligence in this matter, and seek further advice should joint venture structures change or should the project progress beyond exploration.

“Origin remains committed to complying with Australian sanctions laws,” Mr Thornton said.

Origin is the majority shareholder and operator of the Beetaloo Basin joint venture (77.5%). Origin currently carries 100 per cent of the costs of exploration activity in the Beetaloo Basin.