Resources Development Minister Colin Barnett has welcomed news that a major expansion of liquefied natural gas exports from WA’s Pilbara region is just about underway.
North West Shelf Gas participants today announced that they have signed Letters of Intent with Toho Gas Co. and Tokyo Gas Co. for new purchases of a total of 1 million tonnes per year of liquefied natural gas from the North West Shelf.
“These are the first of several deals to be concluded so construction of a fourth LNG train at the NWS plant on the Burrup Peninsula can begin,” Mr Barnett said.
“This is a significant step towards expansion of Western Australia’s largest resource development project and one that will bring significant economic benefits to the State.”
Mr Barnett said the first major step towards expansion of the LNG project was in 1998 when State Cabinet approved the release of gas reserves.
He said the project also included a second trunk link for mineral processing projects and power generation.
“The assurance of future domestic gas supplies allowed the State to agree to the negotiations proceeding with the Japanese buyers,” he said.
“Notwithstanding the impacts of the recent economic downturn in Asia, it is pleasing to note the progress in Japanese energy markets which has now enabled North West Shelf to secure these new markets,” he said.
Mr Barnett said LNG Train-4 would be larger than existing LNG trains on the Burrup Peninsula, near Karratha.
He said the new train would have a capacity of up to 4.2 million tonnes a year, compared with a combined capacity of 7.5Mt/a for the existing three trains.
This represented an increase in LNG production of capacity of about 50 per cent.
“Development of Train-4 will provide major benefits to the Pilbara region and Western Australia as a whole,” Mr Barnett said.
“It is anticipated the $2.2 billion expansion will provide up to 2000 construction jobs over three and half years.
“Construction is expected to start in the second half of next year and first production in July 2004.
“We are now starting to see the North West Shelf gas project as a pivotal development of major value-adding industries in the Karratha region which augurs well not only for the Pilbara, but for the State as a whole.”
Media contact: Diana Callander 9222 9699