“Extremely frustrated” minister drops gas blast prosecution

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The WA Government has dropped its prosecution of US energy giant Apache over the 2008 Varanus Island blast that cut WA’s gas supply by 30 per cent.

Yesterday WA mines and petroleum minister Norman Moore said the case could not proceed because of a legal technicality over Apache’s licence.

Moore said he was angry and extremely frustrated that the prosecution had been quashed.

The Government had initially planned to sue Apache for failure to keep a pipeline in good condition but dropped the case after it was revealed the pipe section that exploded had been classified as "pipe works" and not a pipeline.

In a statement Moore said the classification was a "legal technicality" and he was angry Apache was able to avoid facing court.

"But that doesn’t mean that they will necessarily get off scot-free," he told reporters.

"There may well be civil litigants in the community who will take action against Apache on the basis of the losses incurred."

Moore said the damage to WA from the Varanus blast had been significant but Apache had also been active on other projects and provided "good economic support" for WA.

Image: WA Government

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