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Pipeline plan gets the nod

PRELIMINARY work on a gas pipeline between Bunbury, Manjimup and Albany with a possible future extension to Ravensthorpe and Esperance has begun.

Despite a feasibility report from Bunbury to Dampier Natural Gas Pipeline owner Epic Energy suggesting the project would not be viable without WA Government funding, it will proceed.

The Epic study found there was insufficient gas demand in the region to justify a pipeline on a purely commercial basis.

A Government contribution of around $2.8 million per year would be required for the first five years of the pipeline’s operation for it to be feasible.

Resources Development Minister Colin Barnett is expected to announce the consulting group that will decide potential routes for the pipeline on Friday.

Once a preferred route has been determined, work can begin on environmental, ethnographic, archaeological and flora and fauna studies to ensure the corridor is suitable for its intended use.

The Expressions of Interest process is expected to begin in the first half of next year.

Mr Barnett said the pipeline was likely to act as a catalyst for the development of processing projects associated with the South West’s mineral, timber, horticulture and agricultural assets.

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