The Australian Greens say that their fears for the industrialisation of pristine Barrow Island, off WA’s north-west coast, have been confirmed by reports this week that Chevron hopes to expand a gas processing hub on the island from three LNG trains to five.
A three-train LNG plant , able to process 15 million tonnes per annum of liquid natural gas, was approved on the A-class nature reserve in September. But the Gorgon partners were reported by Reuters news agency yesterday as saying that they will make a decision within 18 months on expanding the Barrow Island LNG plant to five trains.
The announcement follows comments by Chevron chief George Kirkland last month indicating that the company intended that the LNG hub would be expanded to five LNG trains (see http://www.mediastatements.wa.gov.au/Lists/Statements/DispForm.aspx?ID=132484).
“This makes an absolutely mockery of the Gorgon partners’ claim that they could not afford to build the gas processing plant on the mainland,” Greens Senator for WA Rachel Siewert said.
“Of course, this was just a tactic to get the site that was cheapest and made them the most profits at the expense of the environment.
“The original proposal back in 2003 for a two LNG-train development was rejected by our State’s environmental watchdog because of harm it would do to Australia’s rare and threatened species and one of WA’s most important nature reserves.
“But Chevron, Shell and Exxon Mobil didn’t give up and a few years later, increased their proposal to three LNG trains – and now that they have got that approved, they now want to expand this to five LNG trains.
“It’s a classic example of thin edge-of-the-wedge tactics and it is exactly what we feared would happen.
“They are basically talking about industrialisation of Barrow Island.
“Five LNG trains will mean significantly more workers travelling to the island – and thus a much greater risk of breaches of quarantine rules that have protected the animals on the island to date.”
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