The Wheatstone LNG gas project planned for Western Australia was granted environmental approval by Australian Environment Minister Tony Burke, although it comes with 70 conditions attached.
The approval paves the way for the Chevron Corp.-led joint venture to make a final investment decision for the two-train, 8.9 million tonne/year plant.
Burke says his decision was based on a thorough and rigorous assessment of the project. The caveats include strict conditions on dredging to protect marine life such as dugongs, turtles, dolphins, and whales and to ensure that it is not carried out during the coral spawning period. There will also need to be a program to manage discharge from the plant at Ashburton North near Onslow on the Western Australian coast.
Other offsets include funding from Chevron for research into seagrass ecology and removal of barriers to the movement of sawfish. Chevron will be required to educate its workforce on the significance of environmental values of the region and responsibilities towards protecting those values, including a code of conduct to manage recreational fishing and other activities by employees.
Wheatstone will take gas from Chevron’s Wheatstone field as well as from Apache Energy-Kufpec’s Julimar and Brunello fields.
Chevron holds 73.6% interest, Apache Energy 13%, and Kufpec 7%.