30/04/2009 - 08:50

Chevron welcomes EPA decision

30/04/2009 - 08:50


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Australia's largest resource project, the Gorgon gas development, inched closer to proceeding after WA's Environmental Protection Authority gave it qualified support today.

Australia's largest resource project, the Gorgon gas development, inched closer to proceeding after WA's Environmental Protection Authority gave it qualified support today.


More to come...


Statements from the EPA and Chevron are posted below:

The Environmental Protection Authority has released advice and recommendations to the Minister for Environment on the proposal to revise and expand the Gorgon liquefied natural gas development, on the Barrow Island nature reserve, by Chevron Australia and its joint venture partners Shell Development Australia and Mobil Resources Company.

EPA chairman Paul Vogel said that the EPA's view of 2003 opposing the location of industry on a class A nature reserve remained unchanged.

Quoting from that report Dr Vogel said: "Given the very high environmental and unique conservation values of Barrow Island, which are reflected in its status as a class A Nature Reserve, it is the view of the EPA that, as a matter of principle, industry should not be located on a nature reserve and specifically not on Barrow Island."

"The EPA recognises that Government approved construction of a smaller gas processing plant on Barrow Island, in 2007.

"The EPA has therefore assessed the revised and expanded proposal for new and, or, additional risks and impacts to significant environmental assets.

"It has found that the proposal, as presented, does not provide a reasonable prospect for the long term viability of one of the most significant flat back turtle rookeries in Western Australia.

"If the project is to proceed the EPA has recommended a number of changes.

"Conditions would be needed to deal with increased potential impacts on turtles, the primary objective being achievement of an unaltered light horizon, compared with the current natural conditions, from the perspectives of both egg-laying female flatback turtles and hatchlings.

"The EPA also regards as an important issue the increased potential impacts of dredging and marine infrastructure construction on the high value coral dominated habitat of the Lowendal Shelf.

"However, it is possible that dredging and marine infrastructure construction could meet the EPA's objectives provided a condition is imposed requiring management according to real time monitoring and trigger levels for corrective action based on levels which do not cause coral deaths.

"Corrective action, including stopping dredging when required, would need to be set out in conditions, following advice to the Minister for Environment by the Construction Dredging Environmental Expert Panel.

"Also, gas from the Gorgon field is high in carbon dioxide. A fundamental justification by the proponent for using Barrow Island was the need for access to a suitable aquifer beneath the island for long term carbon dioxide storage."



Chevron Australia Pty Ltd today welcomed the Western Australian Environmental Protection Authority's (EPA) recommendation that the revised and expanded Chevron-operated Gorgon Project could meet the EPA's environmental objectives.

The revised and expanded proposal adds a third, five million tonne per annum LNG train to the original two train proposal already approved for Barrow Island.

Managing director for Chevron Australia, Roy Krzywosinski, welcomed the EPA's decision as an important step in the regulatory process.

The company can now continue to assess the conditions as we work towards a final investment decision in the second half of this year.

"The Gorgon Project is Australia's single largest resource project which is set to deliver huge economic benefits and create thousands of jobs," Mr Krzywosinski said.

"The Gorgon Project is expected to boost gross domestic product, generate significant government revenue and create local opportunities through goods and services. It also includes a domestic gas capability which will provide more energy security for Western Australians."

Chevron Australia Greater Gorgon Area General Manager Colin Beckett said: "We are currently reviewing and assessing the EPA's proposed conditions."

We acknowledge, however, that under the state's process the government provides final approval for the project."

"For the continued development and sustainability of Australia's LNG industry, it is important that the Gorgon project can successfully complete the approvals process in as timely a period as possible," Mr Beckett said.

"The Joint Venture participants, Chevron (operator), Shell and ExxonMobil are committed to moving the project forward on Barrow Island and believe the environmental impacts of the project can be minimized and effectively managed in accordance with environmental best practice.

"We have a 40-year track record of protecting biodiversity on Barrow Island. With proper management and planning we have demonstrated that development and conservation can coexist."

The environmental assessment for the Gorgon project has been the most comprehensive in Australia. It is the result of six years of preparation, including the research and contributions of numerous independent experts, and extensive community consultation.

Chevron is one of the world's leading integrated energy companies and through its Australian subsidiary, has been present in Australia for more than 50 years.

With the ingenuity and commitment of more than 1,200 people, Chevron Australia operates the Gorgon project, the Wheatstone Project and the Barrow and Thevenard Island oilfields.

The company is a foundation partner in the North West Shelf Venture and the Browse LNG development, as well as a significant investor in exploration and appraisal activities offshore north-western Australia, one of four global focus areas for Chevron.


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