CAPP blew the whistle. Any courageous whisteblowers at AER & Encana? Origin Energy denies massive cover-up after accusation in explosive lawsuit by company whistleblower, Sally McDow, lawyer and senior compliance manager

2014 08 28 CAPP's Alex Ferguson admits coalbed methane contaminated well water, in some more infamous cases, landowners could set their water on fire

Snap of photo from the print article linked below.

Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers: Coal bed methane operations contaminate water resources by The Calgary Herald, August 28, 2014

Yet CAPP’s Alex Ferguson says many worries about water quality are based on past operations involving coal-bed methane — shallow deposits in closer proximity to groundwater. These did occasionally contaminate water resources, he says. In some of the more infamous instances, affected landowners could light their well water on fire.

Alex Ferguson was Commissioner and CEO of the BC Oil and Gas Commission 2007-2011

Origin Energy denies cover-up after accusation in explosive lawsuit by Adele Ferguson, January 24, 2017, The Sydney Morning Herald

A whistleblower at Origin Energy has filed an explosive legal action that alleges the company’s former chief executive and current president of the Business Council of Australia Grant King engaged in a massive cover-up at the energy giant.

The 66-page amended statement of claim filed in the Federal Court on Monday alleges a management cover-up that includes serious non-compliance with regulations  [Like Gwyn Morgan, past CEO of Encana, and Gerard Protti, past VP of Encana and now Chair of the infamous legally immune, Charter violating, lying and cover-up helper extraordinaire the AER?] relating to safety and the environment, hundreds of wells in Australia and New Zealand that hadn’t been maintained for more than 10 years, leaks of oil and gas, contaminations, a failure to inform regulators or the ASX of breaches and the material altering of reports to the board on risk and compliance issues.

In at least one case the regulatory and legislative breaches were so serious they could have cost people their lives, the claim alleges. To fix some of the problems would have allegedly cost tens of millions of dollars.

The claimant is whistleblower, Sally McDow, a highly credentialled lawyer and senior compliance manager at Origin. She alleges a number of other whistleblowers exposed wrongdoing. She makes the claim as part of a case seeking compensation for workplace and other breaches.

Mr King declined to comment, instead referring inquiries to Origin. Origin hotly disputed Ms McDow’s claims saying it would strongly fight the case in court.

Mr King – who left Origin last October after being chief executive since 2000 – is alleged to have altered reports to the board to delete references to material risk issues including those relating to non-compliance with mandatory legislative and regulatory obligations for the electricity division, upstream divisions and the multi-billion dollar Australia Pacific LNG project, which is a joint venture between Origin, ConocoPhillips and Sinopec.

One whistleblower is alleged to have said in September 2013 that Mr King and at least one other senior executive were “opposed to reporting to the board the true nature of non-compliance with regulatory requirements until Origin had enough capital to deal with and fix the compliance problems.”

Another is alleged to have been told by at least three executives at Origin that certain findings should not be included in a compliance audit report as it could adversely affect the share price and their employment.

Another whistleblower, responsible for managing compliance with the APLNG project, allegedly prepared a compliance register of issues, listing breaches he rated “serious and material” that had not been entered into the OCIS, which is a mandatory database for regulatory incidents. The breaches were allegedly not reported to regulators.

The division at the centre of some of McDow’s allegations is the conventional upstream business.

That part of Origin was recently tagged as NewCo and is set to be demerged this year and listed on the ASX at a value of more than $1.8 billion, according to some analyst estimates.

Ms McDow alleges she was victimised and made redundant shortly after filing a whistleblower report in 2015. She alleges she filed the report to officers including the chairman Gordon Cairns.

She cites a former head of compliance for Origin telling her in November 2012 that in his 28 years in global senior compliance he had never seen such a “poor and fundamentally broken compliance program than that which existed at Origin.”

She alleges in December 2013 an “incident” occurred at a gas well at Beharra Springs in Western Australian and that at a meeting of 60 staff, the chief executive of Origin upstream, who has since left, described it as “the worst he had been involved in his 35 year oil and gas career internationally.”

That incident was reported to the WA Department of Mines and Petroleum.

She alleges a report written into the Beharra explosion concluded that it could have caused multiple fatalities and was caused by 13 systemic issues that had been overlooked and ignored by management in audits and reports over ten years.

Ms McDow is suing for breaches of her employment contract, breaches of the Corporations Act and breaches of the Fair Work Act.

Fairfax Media on Tuesday provided the statement of claim to Mr King but he referred questions to Origin.

An Origin spokeswoman said the company “categorically denied” the allegations underlying Ms McDow’s claim.”We will vigorously defend the claim in court,” she said.

“We are confident that we have met, and continue to meet, all compliance related reporting obligations in relation to our assets.” [Emphasis added]

[Refer also to:

2016 04 09: “Mr Bender’s death was ‘a snap decision’ after Origin Energy tried to force him to sell.” Family of George Bender Submission to Senate Inquiry into Regulation of CSG (CBM) Industry: 1,000 pigs dead due to gas industry pollution

2016 03 15; Frac ‘n Fraud Down Under: Origin Energy execs kept aquifer contamination secret for more than 1.5 years, knew CSG (CBM) wells leaking into aquifers. Are Origin Energy CSG (CBM) wells contaminating Condamine River with ‘intensifying’ methane bubbling too? ]

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