15/10/2008 - 13:01

Barnett names preferred LNG site

15/10/2008 - 13:01

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Premier Colin Barnett has named North Head, north of Broome, as his preferred site for a gas processing precinct to serve the Browse Basin gas fields, located off the Kimberley coast.

Barnett names preferred LNG site

Premier Colin Barnett has named North Head, north of Broome, as his preferred site for a gas processing precinct to serve the Browse Basin gas fields, located off the Kimberley coast.

Mr Barnett today said he was keen to develop the area as soon as possible after Japanese company Inpex decided to build a $24 billion processing plant in the Northern Territory instead of WA.

The Premier said he favours North Head, 125km north of Broome, even though it is a dense migratory habitat for humpback whales and is within an Aboriginal reserve.

A report by the Northern Development Taskforce, set up by the previous Labor government, said the overall sensitivity of the marine environment at North Head was considered to be high to very high.

Mr Barnett said today the environment would not be compromised.

"The necessary environmental work will be done," Mr Barnett said.

"We're talking about 2,000 acres in an area twice the size of Victoria."

He said he would welcome further research on marine sensitivity in the area called for yesterday by the Western Australian Marine Science Institution.

The institution is seeking $110 million in funding to further its work along the Kimberley coastline.

Overall the taskforce assessed 11 potential sites but narrowed the recommendation to four including Anjo Peninsula, James Price Point and Gourdon Bay.

The four sites are the same as those shortlisted by the Kimberley Land Council last month which negotiated with Traditional Owners.

The council's chief executive Wayne Bergmann today urged the government to ensure the development had the support of Aboriginal people in the Kimberley.

"Traditional Owners will support development that brings lasting economic benefits, while balancing environmental and cultural values," Mr Bergmann said.

"That means ongoing involvement and jobs in the long term, not money to shut up and go away."

Mr Barnett said he hoped to start exports from the precinct from 2012-13, a timeframe that Woodside Petroleum Ltd chief executive Don Voelte does not agree with.

Mr Voelte said on a best case scenario, the company could have a final investment decision by 2013, and exports starting at 2015.

Meanwhile, Mr Voelte said while the North Head location "suits us very well", he would not rule out piping gas from the Browse Basin project to Karratha.

That option is "bad" according to Mr Barnett who said the state will miss out on benefits of bringing the LNG site onshore.

Other options up for consideration for by Woodside is piping the gas to the North West Shelf, the Burrup or Pluto areas.

The Kimberley

The report is up for a 28-day public comment period and the government hopes to have a final site selected by the end of the year.

 

The government announcement is pasted below:

 

The Barnett Government today released the Northern Development Taskforce's Site Evaluation Report on four potential sites for an LNG precinct in the Kimberley.

Released for a 28-day public consultation process, the report earmarks the four sites that best meet the criteria as Gourdon Bay, south of Broome, James Price Point and North Head, both on the Dampier Peninsula and Anjo Peninsula, on the far north Kimberley coast.

Premier Colin Barnett said each site had issues which would need to be addressed by Government, but the necessary work would be done to see the final site confirmed as quickly as possible.

"An LNG precinct site must be selected to enable the growth and prosperity of Western Australia," Mr Barnett said.

"It is a responsibility that has been neglected for the past eight years, but the State Government will ensure a decision is made in the best interests of the State.

"The four proposed sites have been identified after extensive consultation with stakeholders from the community, including environmental groups, the Aboriginal community, the tourism industry, local government, fisheries and aquaculture representatives.

"It's an indictment on the previous government that in eight years it could not select a site for developments to allow the growth of WA.

"For example, if government was better managed in the past, a site could have been selected and WA would not have lost the INPEX project, worth more than $24billion to the State."

The Premier acknowledged the commitment and effort of the Aboriginal community in helping identify the sites in a constructive and timely manner.

Public submissions on the site options can be made until November 11.

 

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