AIE’s Oz LNG Import Project Given ‘Critical’ Status
The Australian Industrial Energy (AIE) consortium’s plan to develop an LNG import project on Australia’s eastern seaboard will have its approval process fast-tracked following it being declared as critical infrastructure June 24.
The move by the New South Wales government to declare it as Critical State Significant Infrastructure (CSSI) is a major step for the project delivering gas by early 2020, AIE said.
“Today’s announcement of CSSI status for AIE’s Port Kembla Gas Terminal is a powerful demonstration of the Berejiklian Government’s commitment to solving the State’s critical gas security challenges,” the AIE’s lead investor Andrew Forrest said June 24.
Forrest’s Squadron Energy is investing in AIE alongside Japan’s JERA and Marubeni Corporation.
While the CSSI designation for PKGT is not an approval for the project, it is a framework which sets out a clear approval pathway.
“AIE will now request assessment requirements for the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement. When received, the EIS will then go on public exhibition for community feedback,” the state government said.
Minister for Planning Anthony Roberts said: “This project is vitally important because it could expand the locally available gas supply in NSW by around 100 petajoules, which represents over 70% of the state’s total gas demand”.
“The project would also be scalable to supply more gas if demand increases over time, and provide up to 12 days of emergency gas supply to address any disruptions in supply from other states,” he said.
Australia, which is on track to be the world’s largest exporter of LNG next year, doesn’t currently import the fuel. But, a tight supply outlook for the country’s east coast has led to the announcements of three separate import project plans for the region.
ExxonMobil announced earlier in the month that it is considering developing an import facility in Victoria by 2022. Australian energy retailer AGL is also planning a 100 PJ/year facility at Crib Point, also in Victoria – with first gas targeted for the 2020-2021 (July-June) financial year.
The Australian Energy Market Operator last week said there is no longer expected to be gas shortages in the region in the short term following a change in international markets, lower demand for gas-powered generation, new pipeline interconnections and the Federal Government’s export control measures.