Australia grants Chevron environmental approval for Wheatsone LNG project

By Phaedra Friend Troy

The government of Australia has given final environmental approval for the Chevron-operated (NYSE:CVX Wheatstone LNG project in Western Australia.

The Environment Minister Bill Marmion gave Wheatstone LNG approval with 25 conditions pertaining to marine fauna, including whales and turtles.

“This is a huge development for Western Australia," said Minister Marimion. "At its peak, the construction workforce for Wheatstone is expected to reach 3,000 people, in addition to a further 3,500 indirect jobs and billions of dollars in locally purchased goods and services.”

The environmental conditions call on Chevron to amend dredging around coral; suspend activities that might disturb humpback whales; improve habitats of whales, dugongs and dolphins; and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

A major multi-billion-dollar LNG development, Wheatstone incorporates natural gas from offshore fields Wheatstone and Iago, as well as third-party developments Julimar and Brunello, transporting production to an onshore LNG liquefaction and export facility.

The Front End Engineering and Design on Wheatstone is complete, and the final investment decision on the LNG project is slated for later in 2011.

In July 2011, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) signed a sales and purchase agreement for 3.1 million tonnes per annum of LNG from Wheatstone for up to 20 years. Additionally, heads of agreements for Wheatstone LNG have been signed with Kyushu Electric Power Company and Korea Gas Corporation (KOGAS).

Chevron serves as operator of Wheatstone with 73 percent interest.

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