Epik's Oz Import Terminal Project Given 'Critical' Status
New South Wales (NSW) government August 14 declared South Korean LNG developer Epik’s proposed Newcastle Gas Dock LNG import project as 'critical state significant infrastructure' (CSSI). While the CSSI designation is not an approval for the project, it is a framework which sets out a clear approval pathway.
“The terminal could be operational by 2022-23 and provide supply for gas-fired power stations, helping to manage energy security during the period in which the Liddell power station is scheduled to close,” acting premier John Barilaro said in a statement.
Epik plans to build a 170,000 m³ floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) capable of covering over 80% of gas demand in NSW – a project earmarked to cost US$400-430mn. In April it recruited Australia’s Watpac to design, engineer and construct the onshore infrastructure. It also hopes to leverage its strategic pact with South Korea’s Hyundai LNG Shipping to help realise the venture.
“This LNG terminal would significantly address this risk and help secure a reliable and affordable future for NSW’s gas supply,” Barilaro said.
The project was declared CSSI by planning and public spaces minister Rob Stokes who said the terminal, if approved, would significantly increase local gas supply, promote competition between suppliers and put downward pressure on the state’s gas prices.
“NSW currently relies on interstate sources for 95% of our gas supply and experts predict a shortfall in supply from existing sources in the coming years,” Stokes said.
The terminal will still be subject to detailed community consultation and a full and thorough environmental assessment, the government said. Newcastle GasDock Company (NGDC), will now need to prepare an environmental impact statement for the project, which will go on public exhibition for community feedback. The department of planning, industry and environment will then assess the merits of the project, before making a recommendation to minister Stokes for a final decision, the government said.
This is the second LNG import terminal project in the state to get the CSSI tag. Last year, Australian Industrial Energy (AIE) consortium’s proposed Port Kembla terminal was declared critical.