Australia Pacific LNG Pty Limited on Tuesday achieved a significant milestone with the Queensland Coordinator-General's approval for its coal seam gas (CSG) to liquefied natural gas (LNG) project.
Australia Pacific LNG is a 50:50 CSG to LNG joint venture between Origin and ConocoPhillips.
Approval, subject to the strict conditions outlined in the Coordinator-General's report, has been granted for the development of the gas field occurring progressively over a 30-year period; a 450km transmission pipeline and an LNG facility on Curtis Island.
Australia Pacific LNG Project Director, Page Maxson, said gaining the approval was a significant milestone in realizing the potential benefits of the project and ensuring appropriate management of the potential environmental impacts.
Maxson said, "The stringent conditions contained in the Coordinator-General's report, including detailed on-going monitoring and reporting requirements, should give the community confidence that the project will meet the high standards required during construction and operation.
"The project will form part of a burgeoning world-scale, long-term industry in Queensland, utilizing Australia Pacific LNG's substantial coal seam gas resources in the Surat and Bowen Basins," said Maxson.
Compliance with the Coordinator-General's conditions will be independently audited, with Australia Pacific LNG also required to provide an annual environmental report.
The Coordinator-General's report recognizes the comprehensive nature of the Australia Pacific LNG EIS. The EIS included an assessment of the cumulative impacts of all existing projects proposed for the region, including other CSG to LNG projects and an undertaking to develop and implement a comprehensive biodiversity protection strategy.
To support the EIS consultation process, Australia Pacific LNG met with more than 6,000 stakeholders including landowners and non-government organizations during an 18-month period. Thirty-six formal submissions were received from government agencies and the public, all of which were considered as part of the Coordinator General's approval.
Maxson said, "The Australia Pacific LNG project will deliver a range of significant opportunities and benefits for many local communities and we look forward to continued, positive engagement and being an integral part of these communities for decades to come."
The Queensland Coordinator-General's report will now be provided to the Commonwealth Government for further consideration and approval. Commonwealth approval is a further step in gaining the necessary regulatory approvals for the project to proceed.
An EIS is a document prepared to describe the potential impacts of a proposed activity on the environment. An EIS describes the impacts, and documents ways to avoid, minimize or mitigate potential impacts.
In April 2009, the Queensland Coordinator-General declared the Australia Pacific LNG Project a "significant project" under the State Development and Public Organisation Act (1971) and the EIS process commenced.
The draft EIS Terms of Reference were made available for public comment by the Coordinator-General from August to October 2009 and were subsequently finalized. The draft EIS for the Project was lodged with the Queensland Government on 29 January 2010 and the EIS was released by the Coordinator-General on 29 March 2010 for public comment and examination by government advisory agencies.
The Project has also been referred to the Commonwealth Government for consideration under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (1999).
Australia Pacific LNG Pty Limited is a 50:50 incorporated joint venture between Origin Energy Limited and ConocoPhillips which combines Origin's 13 and ConocoPhillips' 25 years of CSG experience, as well as ConocoPhillips' 40 years experience in operating and developing LNG facilities. Australia Pacific LNG is already producing almost 40 percent of Australia's total CSG production to meet domestic market requirements. Australia Pacific LNG holds the largest CSG reserves in Australia. Australia Pacific LNG's Project stretches from the Surat and Bowen Basins along a 450km pipeline to a site at Laird Point on Curtis Island off Gladstone. Origin is Australia's largest integrated energy company and ConocoPhillips is a leader in the development of LNG Projects internationally including the existing plant in Darwin, Australia.