CHEVRON’S planned $30 billion Wheatstone liquefied natural gas project is expected to begin within months after the West Australian Environmental Protection Authority approved the development today. But the EPA recommended the US energy giant take significant measures to reduce the unusually high level of carbon emissions from the project, which is to be built near Onslow in WA’s Pilbara region.
Emissions from the project would increase Australia’s greenhouse-gas emission levels by 1.7 per cent, over 2006-07 readings, and WA’s levels by 13.5 per cent. The project would emit 10 million tonnes of greenhouse gases every year. The EPA’s report will be sent to WA Environment Minister Bill Marmion for final approval. Approval is also required from federal Environment Minister Tony Burke. “The EPA has assessed the proposal for the Wheatstone development and believes that the proposal can be implemented with appropriate management to limit environmental impacts to an acceptable level,” the EPA report said.
The EPA recommended today that Chevron put in place a greenhouse-gas abatement program and offset the emissions of carbon dioxide from Wheatstone. Chevron’s proposed lack of greenhouse-gas mitigation measures were deemed unacceptable by the Conservation Council of WA and the Wilderness Society considered, the report said. The EPA said that if commonwealth legislation on reducing carbon emissions came into force, Chevron may not need to implement an abatement program.
The first phase of the Wheatstone project will have a combined capacity of 8.9mt per annum and first LNG shipments are planned for 2016.