The Barrow Island Gorgon Gas Project has cleared the final stage of the Western Australia approvals process after the state's Environment and Climate Change Minister, David Templeman, signed off on a set of stringent environmental conditions.
Among the 36 Ministerial conditions are requirements that the joint venture partners establish a reservoir carbon dioxide injection system, as well as expert panels to protect the unique biodiversity of the island and surrounding marine environment.
Templeman said the proponents had accepted the conditions, which would ensure this project could proceed with minimal risk to the environment.
The conditions were one part of a three-point environmental protection plan for the project, which included:
- an additional $60 million commitment by the Gorgon joint venturers to a series of new initiatives to conserve the flatback turtle population and protect other endangered species; and
- a Government commitment to expand land and marine parks and reserves in the Pilbara and lower west Kimberley, to protect turtles and improve the management of the existing Montebello/Barrow Islands conservation reserves.
The final conditions included a requirement that the proponents submitted annual audit compliance and environmental performance reports.
And before the project can proceed, the proponents must undertake a number of activities including:
- submitting a range of detailed management reports covering the marine and terrestrial environment;
- establishing and funding a quarantine expert panel and management plan to ensure Barrow Island's unique biodiversity is protected;
- establishing and funding a marine turtle expert panel to implement a long-term management plan; and
- establishing an environmental expert panel to monitor dredging.
The approval also features a number of conditions to control and limit the impact of dredging on the marine environment, including coral.
Other conditions include the design and construction of a reservoir carbon dioxide re-injection system, as well as a monitoring program for that system.
The proponent must also submit to the Minister a greenhouse gas abatement program to ensure the plant is designed to minimize greenhouse gas emissions.
Templeman said the Western Australia government was making decisions for the future to ensure the protection of its unique environment and the ongoing prosperity of the state.