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Gas giant Santos cops massive fine over record keeping

Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS

Gas giant Santos has been fined millions of dollars for thousands of record-keeping breaches in contravention of the national gas rules.

The Federal Court on Tuesday ordered Santos Direct Pty Ltd to pay $2.75 million for breaching its obligations on 4,701 occasions between March 2019 and June 2021.

Santos admitted it contravened the rules by failing to keep the required records of its material renominations for the Day Ahead Auction across six gas auction facilities.

The auction started in 2019 and is designed to improve competition in the gas market by providing access to contracted but unused capacity on gas pipelines.

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Timely and accurate record-keeping is crucial for the Australian Energy Regulator's monitoring.

Chair Clare Savage said the court's decision reinforced the importance of accurate record-keeping for gas market participants.

She said the auction was vital for moving gas between markets on the East Coast.

"It is crucial that trust and confidence in the Day Ahead Auction is maintained for it to continue to deliver benefits to consumers," she said.

Santos said it always acted and would continue to act in good faith in respect of nomination and renomination behaviour in the domestic gas market, and there were no allegations otherwise.

"As recognised by the Federal Court, there was no impact on supply or price in the east coast domestic gas market and since June 2021 Santos has had systems in place that have been operating efficiently and comply with the record keeping requirements," the company said in a statement.

The gas giant said the court found the parties agreed there was no actual loss or damage caused as a result of the admitted contraventions and Santos did not obtain any material benefit.

The court also ordered that an independent review of Santos' processes be carried out.