07/12/2020 - 18:26

Exmouth project canned after green battle

07/12/2020 - 18:26

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A planned pipeline fabrication facility near Exmouth has been cancelled months after a ministerial decision to launch a special review into developments in the area.

A pipeline-laying vessel during the development of the Gorgon project.

A planned pipeline fabrication facility near Exmouth has been cancelled months after a ministerial decision to launch a special review into developments in the area.

Proponent Subsea 7 said it would cease investment in the Learmonth Pipeline Bundle Fabrication Facility, which would have been about 35 kilometres south of Exmouth.

Pipelines would have been transported through the Exmouth gulf as they were fabricated and linked together.

But it attracted fire from environmental groups, led by Project Ningaloo, who argued it would impact dugong foraging grounds and a whale nursery.

Last year, Subsea 7 submitted an alteration to the proposal which reduced the development envelope.

In August, Environment Minister Stephen Dawson ordered a review of the cumulative impact of projects near Exmouth, including a planned cruise ship jetty, a salt project and the pipeline facility.

Business News understands the review process contributed to delaying the project such that it was unable to bid for prospective work.

“Having reviewed the evolution of the market and the economics of this investment, and with availability of alternative technical solutions to execute our projects in Australia, Subsea 7 has taken the decision to no longer pursue the development of the proposed Learmonth Pipeline Bundle Fabrication Facility,” the company said today. 

“With this decision we will now be withdrawing the referral assessment that is currently under review by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) Western Australia. 

“Australia is a key market for Subsea 7

“Our capability and technology are ideally suited to this market and we remain focused on providing ongoing support to our clients in the development of their projects in Australia.”

Activist group Project Ningaloo posted on social media to say it was a victory for the Exmouth community, and nature.

”The tens of thousands of people who took a stand, sent a submission, emailed their MPs, bought a t-shirt or helped in innumerable other ways, this is your day and you should feel really good about what you’ve made happen,” the organisation said. 

“The campaign to stop industrial development in the Gulf isn’t quite over but today is for celebrating.”

A spokesperson for the state government said the EPA review was not linked to the decision to end the development. 

The government worked constructively on the proposal and the decision was based on financial reasons, the spokesperson said.

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