11/03/2009 - 10:31

Inpex committed to $12bn Darwin project

11/03/2009 - 10:31

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Inpex says it remains committed to developing its $12 billion gas processing plant, located in Darwin, after a Liberal Senator said the company could move to offshore locations due to the Rudd government's emissions trading scheme.

Inpex committed to $12bn Darwin project

Inpex says it remains committed to developing its $12 billion gas processing plant, located in Darwin, after a Liberal Senator said the company could move to offshore locations due to the Rudd government's emissions trading scheme.

The government yesterday released draft laws for its emissions trading scheme, which it wants to begin in July 2010.

Northern Territory Country Liberals Senator Nigel Scullion says it will force Japanese company Inpex to move the $12 billion plant offshore.

Inpex chose Darwin over Western Australia as its preferred site last December and a final investment decision is due later this year or in early 2010.

"(The ETS) is the single thing that is going to put an arrow in the heart of a $24 billion investment in Darwin," Senator Scullion said on Wednesday.

"The future for Darwin, everybody recognises, is with this big project and it has at best a very uncertain future."

The federal government has made some concessions for LNG polluters, who will now get 60 per cent of their emission for free.

Senator Scullion said he had spoken with the managing director of Inpex about the ETS.

"He said to me with the existing arrangements they most likely wouldn't be coming to Darwin, and most likely (not coming to) Australia," he told ABC Radio.

In an emailed statement, Inpex said it is currently evaluating the government's ETS legislation.

"INPEX, in consultation with Government, is currently evaluating the proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) legislation to understand its potential impact on the liquefied natural gas industry and the Ichthys Project in Australia," the company said.

"INPEX is progressing well with Front End Engineering and Design (FEED) for the onshore facilities in Darwin and remains committed to advancing the project."

The company added LNG has an important role to play in reducing overall greenhouse emissions, particularly when it is used to displace other fossil fuels in power generation.

"INPEX is working through the industry representative body, APPEA, in engaging all levels of government on this matter."

The NT Chief Minister Paul Henderson said he was "working on a daily basis" to secure the project in Darwin and denied the plant was in jeopardy because of ETS legislation, which he said was a draft only.

He said Senator Scullion's comments were "political scaremongering".

"They have not said that to me," he said.

"They have said they are working full steam ahead to bring this project to Darwin.

"Of course they will be talking to the federal government about the constructs of the ETS scheme. They absolutely want to be world's best practice in terms of environmental outcomes."

Senator Scullion called on Mr Henderson to speak to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and ensure Inpex was given a "special dispensation".

Australia is the third largest LNG exporter in the Asia-Pacific region and the fifth largest in the world.

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