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Australia gives the nod to a $35 billion project.
Australia’s Queensland estate has approved a proposed $35 billion coal seam gas- (CSG) to-LNG project headed by ConocoPhillips and Origin Energy Ltd. The 50:50 joint venture (JV) is known as the Australia Pacific LNG Pty Ltd. Approval of the project is subject to the strict conditions outlined in the coordinator-general’s report.
According to a press release issued by Origin, the report notes the comprehensive nature of the Australia Pacific LNG Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), which includes an assessment of the cumulative impacts of all existing projects proposed for the region, including other CSG-to-LNG projects and an undertaking to develop and implement a comprehensive biodiversity protection strategy.
The project consists of:
- Further development of Australia Pacific LNG’s existing coal seam gas fields in the Surat and Bowen basins.
- Construction of a gas transmission pipeline approximately 280 miles (450 km) long from the coal seam gas fields to an LNG plant at Gladstone.
- Development of the LNG plant which will have a processing capacity of up to 18 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa).
Page Maxson, Australia Pacific LNG project director, said in an official statement that gaining this approval was a significant step toward realizing the benefits of the project and ensuring appropriate management of any potential environmental impacts.“The stringent conditions contained in the coordinator-general’s report, including detailed ongoing monitoring and reporting requirements, should give the community confidence that the project will meet the high standards required during construction and operation,” he said. “The project will form part of a burgeoning world-scale, long-term industry in Queensland, utilizing Australia Pacific LNG’s substantial coal seam gas resources in the Surat and Bowen basins.”
Compliance with the coordinator-general’s conditions will be independently audited, and the JV will be required to provide a yearly environmental report.
Australia Pacific LNG met with more than 6,000 stakeholders, including landowners and non-government organizations, during an 18-month period to support the EIS consultation process. According to the company, 36 formal submissions were received from government agencies and the public, all of which were considered as part of the coordinator-general’s approval.
“The Australia Pacific LNG project will deliver a range of significant opportunities and benefits for many local communities, and we look forward to continued, positive engagement and being an integral part of these communities for decades to come,” Maxson said.
Australia Pacific LNG currently produces almost 40% of Australia’s total CSG production and holds the largest CSG reserves in Australia.