Western Australian Environment Minister imposes strict conditions for Chevron's Wheatstone LNG

By Phaedra Friend Troy

The Western Australia Environment Minister Bill Marmion has determined appeals against the Environmental Protection Authority’s (EPA) report on the Chevron-operated (NYSE:CVX Wheatstone LNG.

After consulting several other ministers to obtain final agreement on the conditions, Marmion has approved 24 “tough” conditions to limit environmental impact of the Wheatstone LNG development in an effort to create the “world’s best practice standards.”

“These strict conditions will protect marine fauna, including whales, turtles and dugongs, require $13million in environmental offsets, and require the company to offset reservoir greenhouse gases which may be up to 2.6 million tonnes each year,” Marmion said.

To limit greenhouse gas emissions, Chevron will have to offset reservoir carbon dioxide emissions, similar to conditions applied to the Pluto and Gorgon LNG projects.

The conditions also work to protect coral and specifically address concerns about the humpback whale migration season, prohibiting any blasting at night during that time.

“Given that the area is an important path for humpback whales on their seasonal migration, I strongly endorse new controls on blasting activities for this critical time of year,” he said.

Western Australia’s next mega-LNG project, Wheatstone is a multi-billion-dollar project that will develop offshore natural gas fields Wheatstone, Iago, Julimar and Brunello via subsea trees and a production platform. A subsea pipeline will connect the upstream development to a new onshore LNG liquefaction and export facility at Ashburton North.

With LNG sales agreements with Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) and Korea Gas Corporation (KOGAS) in hand, the Front-End Engineering and Design phase is complete, and the final investment decision on the Wheatstone LNG project is slated for later this year.

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