One of Australia's newest and biggest pastoral landholders are heading to court to challenge the rights of gas miners to access their vast holdings.
A hearing is listed to begin in the Northern Territory Supreme Court today between Rallen Australia and Sweetpea Petroleum.
The court challenge is seen to have big implications for the race to develop shale gas deposits in the Territory's Beetaloo basin.
Rallen Australia is owned by Sydney-based couple Pierre Langenhoven and Luciana Ravazzotti Langenhoven and is believed to have backing from South African ceramics rich lister Giovanni Ravazzotti, the father of Luciana.
Rallen has recently bought up six NT cattle stations encompassing 1.1 million hectares - Tanumbirini, Kalala, Big River, Larizone, Mt McMinn and Forrest Hill running more than 70,000 head of cattle.
Most of the Territory's big stations operate through long-term pastoral leases and not freehold ownership.
Rallen says it has spent $200 million in the NT since 2019 buying up land and establishing its Brahman business.
Rallen director Luciana Ravazzotti said: "The cattle industry in the Territory is facing an unprecedented challenge from fracking" and she said cattle and gas mining do not mix.
They have bought into the Beetaloo Basin in the NT outback which is Australia's supposed El Dorado with enough gas trapped in the shale rocks deep underground to supply the country for hundreds of years.
The Beetaloo spans an area of about 30,000 square kilometres.
Several gas companies have been drilling in the Beetaloo for several years, with financial support from the former Federal government, in an attempt to speed up development of the resource.
Rallen has challenged three gas companies with exploration rights over its Tanumbirini Station - Tamboran, Origin and Santos.
Sweetpea Petroleum is a subsidiary of Sydney-headquartered Tamboran Resources.
Tamboran has an exploration permit for exploratory fracking which covers parts of Tanumbirini, near Daly Waters, plus neighbouring Beetaloo Station.
The company has publicly said it has attempted to engage in good faith with Rallen Australia to negotiate an equitable access agreement.
The Beetaloo station is listed to begin similar court action in the NT Supreme Court from Wednesday.
The former Coalition government granted Tamboran $7.5 million earlier this year to fast track exploration.
Rallen is appealing a NT Civil and Administrative Tribunal decision to allow Sweetpea to start work on its Tanumbirini station on various grounds including protection of its water infrastructure.
Traditional owners from the Nurrdalinji Aboriginal Corporation have supported the pastoralists' legal bids but the Northern Land Council has okayed the access agreement.
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