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Browse LNG receives environmental approval

LNG Industry,

Australia’s Environmental Protection Authority’s (EPA) has conditionally approved the WA Government’s proposed Browse LNG Precinct south of James Price Point. 

Woodside, as operator of the proposed Browse LNG Development, is the foundation proponent for the precinct and is currently progressing plans to build and operate a 12 million tpy LNG processing facility at the site.  

Woodside CEO and Managing Director Peter Coleman welcomed the EPA’s recommendation. The EPA has recommended a number of conditions for the precinct, which Woodside is reviewing.

“We are confident that the social and environmental impacts arising from the development and operation of an LNG precinct on the Dampier Peninsula can be minimised and managed effectively,” Mr Coleman said. 

The EPA’s report and recommendations will be considered by the State and Commonwealth Environment Ministers, who have the responsibility for making a final decision on the precinct’s environmental approval.

There are a number of conditions though that Woodside must abide by when constructing and operating the terminal at James Price Point. In order to conserve marine life in the area they have:

  • Suspending marine pile driving and blasting at night during the peak southern migration of mother and calf Humpback Whale pods.
  • Conduct more research into the distribution and habitats of dugong, turtles, Snubfin and Indo-Pacific Humpback dolphins to assist in long term management and conservation.
  • Detect and controlling marine pests.

The company will also be dredging up some 34 million m3 of the seabed to construct the port which will significantly affect the seabed habitat and thus they must abide by the following conditions:

  • All dredged channels and wharves must be wholly contained within the precinct area.
  • Permanent impacts must not extend beyond 500 metres of dredged areas.
  • Proponents of future proposals will be required to use best practice in dredging and management to minimise impacts.
  • Proponents of derived proposals should put forward offset measures to address impacts and risks.
  • Surveying the marine environment before, during and after marine works to determine baseline conditions, impacts and recovery.

The company also needs to stick to strict conditions about any emissions into the marine environment and must stick to the following conditions on water discharge:

  • Appropriately locating wastewater discharge outlets within a tightly specified area inside the port.
  • Implementation of a Wastewater Discharge Monitoring and Management Plan.

Woodside remains on track to be in a position to make a final investment decision on the proposed development in the first half of 2013.

Written by Peter Farrell.

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