The bulletin, which represents the EPA's advice to the Western Australian Minister for the Environment, is another important step in the environmental assessment process for the Gorgon project.
While the EPA states that its environmental objectives are unable to be met by the Gorgon project, the EPA bulletin recognizes that the Western Australian government's decision regarding the Gorgon proposal will be based on consideration of social, economic and strategic issues, as well as environmental matters, and has, therefore, provided a draft framework under which the government could proceed with the project.
The Gorgon Joint Venture participants will continue to participate in the environmental assessment process that will culminate in a final decision on environmental approval by the Western Australian state government and the Australian federal government. The final decision is expected later this year.
The Gorgon project proposal involves a two-train, 10 million metric-ton-per-year liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant and a domestic gas plant on Barrow Island, located off Australia's northwest coast. Home to Australia's largest operating onshore oil field for the past 40 years, the island is also a Class A nature reserve.
As a result of our internationally recognized environmental record in operating the Barrow Island oil field as well as the Gorgon project's extensive environmental work over a number of years, we are confident that the project will continue to maintain the appropriate balance between environmental management and development on Barrow Island.
Gorgon's environmental assessment is a result of more than three years' preparation and includes the research and contributions of more than 100 independent experts and extensive community consultation. Through this process, the project has been able to refine a number of development designs, allowing equal or better environmental outcomes.
We look forward to continuing to work with the governments of Australia and Western Australia to develop the world-class gas resources of the Greater Gorgon Area through the Gorgon project.
The Greater Gorgon Area development is being pursued by an unincorporated joint venture consisting of three international energy companies: Chevron Corporation, Shell and ExxonMobil (the Gorgon Venture). Chevron Corporation, with a 50 percent interest, is the operator of the Gorgon development on behalf of the Gorgon Venture, and is leading the marketing and development of Gorgon area natural gas. Shell and ExxonMobil each hold a 25 percent interest. Chevron Corporation is also the operator of the Barrow Island oil operation.
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