Saturday, December 5, 2009

Indecent haste to demand a deadline on gas decision

There are still vital issues to consider before any decision is made about a gas processing hub at Prices Point. Tthe Browse decision cannot be rushed and the alternative of processing gas at the North West Shelf facilities at Karratha still needs to be fully examined. With the issuing of a four month deadline by Federal Resources Minister Martin Ferguson on the venture partners to come up with a decision to choose Prices Point as a condition of lease renewal, the directive speaks of indecent haste. Does this deadline make irrelevant the environmental, heritage and social impacts currently being undertaken?

Martin Ferguson steps in with a deadline

Federal Resources Minister Martin Ferguson has put the pressure on the warring Kimberley LNG parties by setting a time limit of FOUR MONTHS to settle their differences and choose a development path for the $30 billion Browse Basin gas project. In granting the renewal leases that cover the project's Browse Basin gas fields, Mr Ferguson said that the joint venture partners had to aim for a final investment for the project within three years, as part of the renewal conditions.Woodside Petroleum has been battling the other partners - Chevron, Royal Dutch Shell, BHP Billiton and BP for some time as to the best way forward.Woodside opts strongly for Prices Point whereas the other partners are considering the Browse gas to be used when their other gas resources start running out from 2020.
Martin Ferguson has directed that that the joint venture partners spend $1.25 billion in the next two and a half years developing their Browse gas fields through the Prices Point LNG hub.
The government has directed the partners that they have 30 days to accept its conditions of coming up with a concept plan by April 2010 and moving toward a final investment decision by mid-2012.
Woodside has suggested that the first gas could be developed in 2016 or 2017.
Shell has hinted the project could be as much as $50bn.