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    Victoria blocks AGL's Crib Point import terminal project

Summary

The Australian state said that the discharges from the project will have “unacceptable” effects on the local environment.

by: Shardul Sharma

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Victoria blocks AGL's Crib Point import terminal project

The government of the Australian state of Victoria has blocked gas and power retailer AGL’s proposed floating LNG import terminal project at Crib Point, AGL said on March 30.   

AGL said that the Victorian planning minister Richard Wynne has “determined, having regard to the Inquiry and Advisory Committee’s report and the Environment Effects Statement documentation, that the project will have unacceptable environmental effects.”  

Wynne in a separate statement said that discharges from the project will have “unacceptable” effects on the local environment, including a nearby wetland of international significance. 

“Marine discharges from the proposed floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) will result in ongoing stress to the environment over the 20-year life of the project,” the minister said. “The adverse direct and indirect effects of that discharge on environmental values, fundamental to the Ramsar status of Western Port are not compatible with the level of protection required in a wetland of recognised international significance.”  

The company said it is reviewing and considering its position in relation to the decision. “An update in relation to the impact on the project will be provided once this assessment is complete,” it said. 

AGL estimates that the total committed or incurred expenditure on the project to date is about A$130mn (US$100mn). The company had been planning the project since 2018. It selected Hoegh Esperanza FSRU in 2019.   

There are other companies interested in setting up import terminals in the state. Another Australian company, Viva Energy, is planning a terminal at Geelong. Netherland’s Vopak recently said it is also looking to develop an LNG import terminal in the state.

Energy consultancy EnergyQuest October last year said that states on the Australian east coast, especially Victoria, will need to import LNG to bridge the expected supply shortfall. Victorian gas demand, the largest on the east coast, is supplied from fields offshore Victoria that also meet Tasmanian demand and a substantial proportion of gas for New South Wales and South Australia. Victoria’s fields are on the brink of decline, EnergyQuest said.