The WA state government has given final environmental approval for the $25 billion Wheatstone liquefied natural gas project in WA’s northwest. The Chevron-led 25 million tonne per annum plant south of Onslow was given the green light after the introduction of 25 conditions protecting marine fauna. The conditions require immediate suspension to dredging if coral outside defined zones is damaged, no blasting during nesting and hatching seasons for turtles and no piling activity during whale migration.
Around $3.5 million over four years will also be spent by Wheatstone improving the management of critical habitats for humpback whales, dugongs, and snubfin dolphins. Other conditions included $13 million in environmental offsets and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. WA environment minister Bill Marmion said in a statement the Wheatsone project was a massive boost for the local economy.
“This is a huge development for Western Australia,” he said. “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.”
Mr Marmion also committed the Government to maintaining environmental standards as the project progressed. “The State Government will continue to ensure the highest environmental standards are applied to protect the local community and its environment.”
Chevron managing director Roy Krzywosinski said in a statement the company welcomed the approval, and was awaiting final approval from the Federal Government. “We welcome State Government environmental approval for the Wheatstone Project and we look forward to a timely environmental approval from the Federal government.”
The Wheatstone onshore foundation project is a joint venture between the Australian subsidiaries of Chevron (73.6%), Apache (13%), Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Company (7%) and Shell (6.4%).