Logistics News

WA Premier persists with Browse gas precinct purchase

Barnett is persisting with land purchase for a Browse gas precinct, despite Woodside's project divestment

June 21, 2013

The Western Australian Government is persisting with land purchase for a gas precinct near James Price Point, despite Woodside dumping its onshore project plans for Browse gas.

In a statement yesterday, WA Premier Colin Barnett expressed dissatisfaction with Woodside’s recent decision to pull out of its original Browse project plans.

But he says Government will press on with the purchase regardless.

“The decision by Woodside and its joint venture partners not to proceed with their original proposal for the development of Browse was disappointing, but this move will ensure the benefits from the State Government will still flow to the people of the Kimberley,” Barnett says.

Barnett says the land purchase is necessary to establish the precinct as a project-ready site to encourage efficient development of the offshore Browse Basin and onshore Canning Basin gas fields.

“This region contains world-class gas resources, and there is interest in a suitable site to support the development of LNG or domestic gas projects in the Kimberley,” he says

The announcement was made after WA parliament passed a Bill allowing joint venture (JV) partners Mitsubishi Corporation and Buru Energy to
develop Canning Basin gas.

Woodside in April announced the development at James Price Point would uneconomical, and confirmed in June its JV partners – Shell, BP, Mitsubishi/Mitsui and PetroChina – would not pursue original plans.

Woodside is reportedly considering a floating LNG facility for Browse Basin gas to be processed on vessels off the coast.

“The precinct does not rely upon any single proponent,” Barnett says.

“We are taking a long-term approach to developing the area for the future processing and export of natural gas.

“If the Government doesn’t act now to secure the area, it could face substantial costs when re-negotiating approvals and create a disincentive for any new entrant.

“The gas is there and it is just a matter of time before it is used. We are being prudent about its development and aiming to ensure the maximum benefit will flow through to the people of Broome, the Kimberley and right across Western Australia.”

The agreement covering the site ensures its use is limited to supporting the development and processing of gas, and not for other industrial purposes.

Under native title agreements reached with the Goolarabooloo Jabirr Jabirr native title claimant group in June 2011, the traditional owners of the site will receive payments of more than $30 million from the State Government to benefit indigenous people across the Kimberley region.

Barnett says the indigenous people of the region have entered into an agreement with the state to ensure the benefits of development in the Kimberley would flow to them.

The land acquisition will trigger a $10 million economic development fund and $20 million for an indigenous housing fund.

Barnett says the traditional owners will have an ongoing role in managing the environmental, social and heritage outcomes of the precinct, which would be central to the future development of the Browse Basin.

According to Government, the 3,414ha of land involved in the process is unallocated Crown land, over which no native title has been determined.

A
government statement says all interests in the land will be acquired under the Land Administration Act 1997

In acquiring all native title rights and interests, the Government has also pledged to comply with its obligations under the Commonwealth Native Title Act 1993.

An agreement was reached with Goolarabooloo Jabirr Jabirr native title claimant group on June 30, 2011 for a role in management of the precinct and associated benefits package.

Once the land interests have been acquired, LandCorp will manage most precinct land, with Broome Port Authority managing and controlling the port area.

The land will be returned to the ownership of traditional owners at the end of the life of the precinct.

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