Chevron Corp appeals against blocking of $10 bn LNG project

Sydney, July 31 | Updated: Aug 1 2006, 05:30am hrs
Chevron Corp and 10 other parties made submissions over the blocking on environmental grounds of the US companys $10.4 billion Gorgon liquefied natural gas venture in Western Australia, its largest project worldwide.

The Conservation Council of Western Australia, which opposes Chevrons plan to build an LNG plant on Barrow Island, a nature reserve off the western coast, was among those that lodged submissions, Garry Middle, the appeals convener, said on Monday. He declined to identify the other parties.

Chevron is appealing a recommendation on June 6 by Western Australias Environmental Protection Agency that the Gorgon project should not proceed, in particular because of potential harm to a species of turtle. The agency also raised concerns about the introduction of non-indigenous species on the island and proposed dredging to create an LNG loading wharf.

We are currently meeting with the appellants and going through their issues, Middle said in a telephone interview.

Were talking over three of the main fatal flaw issues the EPA identified, those being turtles, quarantine and dredging. That will help us, the committee, in our determination when we give advice to the minister, he added.

Chevron owns 50% of Gorgon and is the operator, while Exxon Mobil Corp and Royal Dutch Shell Plc each own 25%. San Ramon, California-based Chevron is counting on Gorgon to help propel it into the worlds fifth-biggest LNG producer by 2015.

The government has already said it backs the project even after the Environmental Protection Agencys ruling. Western Australian Premier Alan Carpenter said on June 6 the government is a very strong supporter of the project.

The 10 million-tonne-a-year Gorgon project, involving a plant proposed to be built on the Barrow Island nature reserve, has accords to supply customers in Japan, North America and India.

It is likely to miss its scheduled 2010 startup date because of planning and approval delays, Chevron said in May.