Inquiry Questions Lawfulness of Browse FLNG Development

The Australian oil and gas industry has called on governments and the sector to work collaboratively and ensure that floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) technology has a future in the country.

A Western Australian parliamentary inquiry this week called for an investigation into the legality of a federal government decision to allow Woodside Petroleum Ltd. to develop the Browse project off the state’s north-west coast using the technology.

A WA Economics and Industry Standing Committee inquiry report into the impact of FLNG on the state economy stated that the former federal government “unilaterally decided to approve” a variation to the Browse retention leases, “opening the way for Woodside to announce FLNG as its preferred development option.”

The report recommended that the WA Government seek legal advice regarding the lawfulness of the “unprecedented decision” relating to the Browse retention leases.

In response to the report, the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA) urged the federal and state governments to seize the FLNG opportunity, saying the technology had the potential to underpin WA’s development as a major global energy producer.

The Browse LNG partners, led by Woodside, disappointed the state government last year by opting to pursue a FLNG vessel to lower project development costs over initial plans to construct an onshore plant.

According to APPEA’s Chief Operating Officer Western Region Stedman Ellis, “The high cost of building major gas projects in Australia is one of our industry’s biggest challenges – FLNG provides an attractive development option for monetizing offshore resources.


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