Woodside submits Browse LNG proposal to W. Australia environment body
Sydney (Platts)--28Nov2012/145 am EST/645 GMT
Woodside Petroleum has submitted its proposal to the Western Australian
state Environmental Protection Authority to build and operate the foundation
Browse LNG project at the James Price Point precinct.
The proposal is now open for a seven-day public comment period ending
Woodside's submission follows the November 19 approval by state
Environment Minister Bill Marmion of the Department of State Development's
strategic proposal for an LNG precinct at James Price Point. That approval
allows for multiple LNG producers to be co-located at the site, where
capacity could be as much as 50 million mt/year.
"The strategic assessment of the Browse LNG precinct allowed the
consideration of the cumulative environmental impacts of future proposals,
known as derived proposals," EPA Chairman Paul Vogel said in a statement
Wednesday. "The conditions approved by the Minister for Environment will
guide the overall development plan, as well as apply to specific future LNG
projects within the precinct."
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Vogel and Deputy Chairman Professor Robert Harvey will now determine
whether the proposal submitted by Woodside fits within the defined precinct
footprint and can be declared a derived proposal.
"If there is significant new or additional information raised by the
proposal, then the EPA may consider whether further assessment is warranted,"
The Woodside-led foundation project would produce 12 million mt/year of
LNG from three trains. The company is currently evaluating tender bids and
undertaking an assurance process to determine costs and economics for the
project, with a view to making a final investment decision in the first half
Woodside and its joint venture partners were earlier this year granted a
one-year extension of their government-imposed deadline of July 2012 to
formally approve the LNG project. Under the terms of lease renewal conditions
outlined by the Australian federal and Western Australian state governments
in 2009, the partners had been required to spend A$1.25 billion ($1.31
billion) on front-end engineering and design, and to take FID on the proposed
LNG project by the middle of 2012.
The James Price Point site is in an environmentally and culturally
sensitive area in Western Australia's Kimberley region and has been mired in
controversy over recent years as some local landowners have refused to
support an A$1 billion social and economic benefits package signed in June
2011 by Woodside and the Goolarabooloo Jabirr Jabirr native title claimant
The Western Australian government has designated the greenfields site on
James Price Point as a processing precinct for all the gas to be developed in
the offshore Browse Basin. Under its retention lease conditions, Woodside's
joint venture was required to build its onshore liquefaction facilities at
James Price Point, unless it could demonstrate an alternative development
concept was likely to be commercially viable at an earlier time.
Woodside's partners in the Browse project are BP, BHP Billiton, Japan
Australia LNG (MIMI) and Shell, which took additional equity from Chevron in
August. Since then, speculation has mounted that the joint venture may opt to
use the floating LNG technology being pioneered by Shell at its nearby
Prelude gas field to commercialize the 15.5 Tcf of gas and 417 million
barrels of condensate contained in its Browse fields, rather than pursue an
expensive onshore development.
Some local analysts are tipping Woodside's Browse LNG project proposed
for James Price Point could cost as much as $45 billion.
--Christine Forster, email@example.com
--Edited by Martin O'Rourke, firstname.lastname@example.org