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Sweetwater deal boosts natural gas

THE WA natural gas market has received a major boost as a result of the agreement between North West Shelf Gas and the Syntroleum Sweetwater Operation.

This was the comment made by Australian Gas Association industry development manager David Parker on the deal which will have NWSG supplying 130 terajoules of gas a day over twenty years to the $600 million Syntroleum Sweetwater Operation gas-to-liquids project.

Mr Parker said the proposed project, to be based at Burrup Peninsula, was an example of the gas industry value-adding by providing competitive energy to develop downstream processing industries.

Resource Development Minister Colin Barnett said it represented a significant step in the State Government’s desire to see a sophisticated, world-class chemical processing industry in the Pilbara.

“It is another vote of confidence in the future of WA as a world leader in the downstream processing of natural gas,” Mr Barnett said.

He said the project was expected to create 1,000 new jobs during the construction phase and as many as 200 permanent jobs when the plant was operating.

Revenue of $7.4 billion is expected to be generated over the next twenty years.

Syntroleum plans to convert natural gas into a range of chemical products of superior quality to those traditionally prepared from crude oil.

Output from the project will include lubricants used in automobiles and industrial machinery, paraffin, drilling fluids and some synthetic fuels.

Mr Barnett said the decision to choose the Burrup Peninsula as opposed to other sites around the world was helped by a $30 million commitment by the State Govern-ment to improve the infrastructure in the region.

“This long-term approach to investment attraction will bring further rewards as other companies are drawn to WA by a culture of Government support,” he said.

“The next twelve months will be an exciting time for WA with several projects which have been on the drawing board for some time reaching important milestones.”

The AGA believes the primary energy share of natural gas can be raised from its current level of 17.7 per cent to 22 per cent by 2005.

“Major gas consuming projects such as the Syntroleum gas-to-

liquid project will greatly assist the natural gas industry achieve its growth targets,” Mr Parker said.

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