27/02/2008 - 16:50

Japan's INPEX weighs WA against NT for big gas project

27/02/2008 - 16:50

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Japanese company INPEX announced today that it may build its proposed LNG plant at Darwin rather than at its currently preferred option of the Maret Islands off the remote Kimberley coast.

Japan's INPEX weighs WA against NT for big gas project

Japanese company INPEX announced today that it may build its proposed LNG plant at Darwin rather than at its currently preferred option of the Maret Islands off the remote Kimberley coast.

Today's announcement signals that environmental reviews currently being undertaken by the federal and state governments in the Kimberley could prompt INPEX to shift its 8 million tonnes per annum LNG plant to Darwin.

Environmental groups have expressed grave concern about the possible development of multiple LNG (liquefied natural gas) projects in the Kimberley.

Woodside's proposed Browse gas project is also located off the Kimberley coast. It is considering several development options, including an LNG plant on the coast, an LNG plant built offshore on Scott Reef and a pipeline linking the gas fields to existing LNG plants on the Burrup peninsula.

The state government has previously advised that it favours the development of a single gas processing hub at one location in the Kimberley.

INPEX's preferred site since 2004 has been the Maret Islands, located about 300 kilometres north of Derby.

The LNG plant would be used to process gas from the Ichthys gas field, 190km off the Kimberley coast.

Darwin is currently home to the 3.2mt pa Darwin LNG plant, developed by US oil and gas producer ConocoPhilips to process gas from its majority-owned Bayu Undan field in the Timor Sea.

 

 

An INPEX statement is pasted below:

 

ICHTHYS JOINT VENTURE
SIGNING OF PROJECT FACILITATION AGREEMENT

INPEX and joint venture partner Total welcome the signing of a Project Facilitation Agreement (PFA) with the Northern Territory Government, Managing Director of INPEX Browse Ltd, Mr Jiro Okada, said in Darwin today.

Through the PFA the Northern Territory Government is demonstrating support for a potential LNG development at Middle Arm in Darwin and INPEX is undertaking a range of studies to assess the viability of this option in comparison to other options also being assessed.

"Our preferred option for an LNG plant is on the Maret Islands in the Kimberley, closer to the Ichthys field," he said, INPEX have undertaken a significant range of environmental and engineering studies since 2004 that have demonstrated the strong technical viability of the Marets option.

"We continue to have a good working relationship with the West Australian Government," Mr Okada said and continue to progress the option of developing an LNG plant in WA."

"However, the Joint Venture must explore all realistic options," he said.

"The Northern Territory Government has clearly demonstrated that Darwin offers an alternative site that could be developed within a reliable time frame. We are also impressed with the business capabilities and infrastructure available in the Territory."

"We are pleased to be discussing this opportunity with the Northern Territory Government," he said and the signing of this Project Facilitation Agreement means we are taking a serious look at Darwin.

Mr Okada said INPEX had been considering Darwin as an option for an LNG plant since 2004.

The construction of a two train, more than 8 mtpa LNG plant in Darwin would be a significant project undertaking and would deliver considerable economic benefit and jobs for the Territory and Northern Australia.

"We will work closely with Territory business to maximise opportunities for local industry and labour to participate the project," he said.

Mr Okada said INPEX had commissioned environmental, economic and engineering studies to examine all aspects of locating LNG facilities on Middle Arm, in Darwin.


"We will consult widely with government, business and key stakeholders before the Joint Venture makes a decision later this year on the best location for the onshore LNG plant," he said.

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