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EPA approves Gorgon expansion

Even before completion, the Gorgon LNG project has been given the nod for expansion to a fourth train.

The WA Environmental Protection Authority yesterday recommended that environment minister Albert Jacob approve the expansion proposal.

However, it is not known how soon the project will begin construction, as Chevron put in the environmental application for procedural purposes.

The fourth train would take completed capacity of the Gorgon processing plant from 15.6 million tonnes per year to approximately 20 million tonnes.

The expansion is estimated to cost an extra $10 billion, according to The West Australian, on top of the already blown out costs of $55 billion for the first three trains.

Original pricing for the Chevron-owned project was $37 billion.

The project as it stands is estimated to be 87 per cent complete, with commissioning expected to start during the second half of 2015 and gas production by the end of the year.

EPA chairman Paul Vogel said the proposal could be managed to meet the objectives of the EPA in relation to potential impacts on marine environmental quality, marine fauna, air quality during operation, and benthic communities (crustacea and other organisms) and habitat.

Earlier this year Chevron signed a binding Sales and Purchase agreement with SK LNG Trading, for supply of 4.15 million tonnes of gas to South Korea for five years.

Around 75 per cent of LNG produced by Gorgon will be committed to customers in Asia during that period.

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