Resources Development Minister Colin Barnett has indicated his support for a $2.4 billion expansion of Western Australia’s North West Shelf gas project.
He said today he had considered the proposals and was prepared to approve them when the project participants advised him of their financial commitment to the expansion.
The proposals centre on the construction of a fourth liquefied natural gas (LNG) processing unit (known as LNG Train 4) at the plant operated by Woodside Energy Ltd on the Burrup Peninsula near Karratha.
Mr Barnett said LNG Train 4 would have a production capacity of 4.2 million tonnes of LNG a year and would lift the operation’s total production capacity to nearly 12 million tonnes a year.
He said most of the increased production would be exported to overseas buyers, mainly in Japan.
“I am satisfied these proposals meet the State’s requirements, and I look forward to receiving advice that the Joint Venture partners have committed to the investment,” Mr Barnett said.
“In the meantime I have agreed to the start of preliminary works which have already been funded.
“These works involve site preparation and development of construction workforce accommodation in the Karratha region.
“The North West Shelf project is Australia’s largest resource project.
“It operates under an Agreement with the State of Western Australia and supplies natural gas for the Western Australian community and industrial use, as well as exporting LNG under long-term contracts to mainly Japanese markets.”
Mr Barnett said the development proposals for the expansion were submitted to him for approval under the requirements of the North West Gas Development (Woodside) Agreement Act 1979. Environmental approval for the expansion project was granted in February 2000.
He said subject to commitments from the individual Boards of the joint venture, the new plant could be operational by mid 2004.
The partners also planned to build a second pipeline to the joint venture’s gasfields some 130km offshore from the Burrup.
Mr Barnett said that an important factor in his consideration of the proposal was the need to ensure that the State’s domestic requirements for natural gas could be met in the future.
“I am satisfied that sufficient provision has been made to reserve gas for use by Western Australian businesses and homes for the foreseeable future,” he said.
“I wish Woodside and its partners every success with this major initiative, which represents a more than 50 per cent expansion in the LNG operations which commenced in 1979-80.”
* Woodside operates the North West Shelf Venture’s LNG operations on behalf of six joint venture partners - Woodside Energy Ltd. (operator); BHP Petroleum (North West Shelf) Pty Ltd; BP Developments Australia Pty Ltd; Chevron Australia Pty Ltd; Japan Australia LNG (MIMI) Pty Ltd; and Shell Development (Australia) Proprietary Limited.
Media contact: Diana Callander - 9222 9686