PERTH (Dow Jones)
The decision by Chevron Corp. (CVX) and partners to approve construction of the US$29 billion Wheatstone LNG project proves that Australia remains attractive for big energy investments, despite the looming prospect of a carbon tax becoming law, Australian Resources and Energy Minister Martin Ferguson said Monday.
"Every time we get another final investment decision it reinforces that we can take action on carbon pricing, but also continue to be attractive from an investment point of view," Ferguson told reporters following Chevron's official launch of Wheatstone.
"The next one, potentially, is Ichthys," he said in a reference to the LNG project offshore northern Australia majority owned by Japan's Inpex Corp. (1605.TO).
The country's carbon tax legislation is expected to be passed by Australia's Parliament by "the end of November," Ferguson added.
Wheatstone is Chevron's second major Australian LNG project, after the A$43 billion Gorgon development offshore Western Australia.
Wheatstone will initially consist of two processing units with a combined capacity of 8.9 million metric tons of LNG a year, and a domestic gas plant.
Other big LNG projects approved in Australia this year include Royal Dutch Shell PLC's Prelude floating LNG project and the Australia-Pacific LNG project fed by coal seam gas in Queensland state.
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