21/07/2008 - 13:06

NT ups ante for Inpex's $12bn gas plant

21/07/2008 - 13:06

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Western Australia's chances of being selected as the host of Inpex's $12 billion liquified natural gas plant have been put at risk after the Northern Territory today called an early August election.

NT ups ante for Inpex's $12bn gas plant

Western Australia's chances of being selected as the host of Inpex's $12 billion liquified natural gas plant have been put at risk after the Northern Territory today called an early August election.

NT Chief Minister Paul Henderson today said he's called an early August election in order to secure the Japanese gas plant, which would require the gas to be pumped 900 kilometres from the Ichthys field in the Browse Basin off the Kimberley coast.

Mr Henderson had until this time next year to send territorians to the polls and had maintained his Labor government wouldn't call an early election without good reason.

He says he's decided on an August 9 poll to give Japanese oil and gas giant Inpex certainty on its proposed project.

Inpex is currently weighing Middle Arm in Darwin harbour against a site in WA for the plant.

The WA government is considering nine sites for an LNG processing hub in the Kimberley region and a short list is being prepared for release early next month.

Opposition resources and industry spokesman Norman Moore said today the Carpenter government had caused Inpex "significant difficulties and frustration".

"Fundamentally there is no question the WA government has been stuffing around with a site for an LNG plant," Mr Moore said.

"The fact the company is now seriously contemplating going to Darwin, and that they are considering a 900km pipeline as opposed to a 200km pipeline, demonstrates the serious frustration being experienced by the company with the dilly dallying of the state government."

Deputy Premier and State Development Minister Eric Ripper said the NT would never be able to change WA's positional advantage.

"The Northern Territory is facilitating the possibility of Inpex locating in Darwin, just as WA is facilitating the possibility of Inpex locating in a common user LNG hub in West Kimberley," Mr Ripper said.

"WA has one advantage that the Northern Territory can't change - our state is closer to the gas.

"The commonwealth approval process is likely to take the same amount of time wherever the plant is located."

Mr Moore said several companies, including Woodside Petroleum and Inpex, wanted to pipe their gas to a site of their choosing, rather than the hub proposed by the government.

"There's a lot of unhappiness in the companies about that," he said.

"They see the government setting up a joint-user centre and running the show.

"A decision about a hub and where it should be should have been made much sooner than this.

"I believe that for environmental and political reasons, the government is concerned about naming (the site) before an election."

An election is due in WA by early next year.



 

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