Thursday's final investment decision by the Australian Government's Minister for Resources and Energy on the $34 billion Ichthys liquefied natural gas (LNG) project will create thousands of jobs, stimulate the economy and move Australia closer to being the world's biggest LNG exporter.
The Ichthys Project is the largest single investment by Japan and France in Australia and the first LNG project to be operated by a Japanese company worldwide. It is Australia's second largest resources project, bringing total committed capital in the LNG sector alone to over $175 billion.
Economic modelling by the project partners suggests it will employ more than 3,000 people in the onshore construction phase and 700 during operations as well as creating further jobs for offshore construction.
As well as creating jobs the Ichthys project offers important local content opportunities, will add around 20 per cent to the Northern Territory gross state product and increase Australia's total current and planned LNG export capacity by around 10 per cent.
The scale of the Ichthys Project is truly impressive. It includes one of the world's longest large-diameter offshore pipelines and a central processing facility likely to be one of the largest ever built.
Speaking at the announcement in Darwin, the Minister for Resources and Energy, Martin Ferguson AM MP, congratulated INPEX, Total and all the joint venture's customers in Asia.
"Today is a landmark decision for the Northern Territory and for Australia, bringing a critical mass of LNG developments to see Darwin emerge as a significant regional hub for the industry," Minister Ferguson said.
"Major investments like the Ichthys Project mean prosperity and opportunity for Australians and for those nations turning to Australian LNG as a source of clean energy.
"We are entering a golden age of gas and projects like this one, along with the seven others sanctioned in recent years position Australia to be one of its major beneficiaries. Australia is well on track to becoming the major gas supplier in the Asia-Pacific region – the world's engine room of economic growth in the 21st Century.
"I welcome the project's commitment to employment for indigenous Australians. The Larrakia Trade Training Centre, for example, illustrates how the resources sector must work with indigenous people to share the benefits and rewards which the resources sector brings to Australia.
"I am pleased to see the Ichthys Joint Venture taking that all-important step to development, and commercialising Australian gas reserves in a timely and efficient manner to benefit both Australia and our Asian trading partners."
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