Chevron's Gorgon Gets Green Light from Environment Minister
Environment Minister Donna Faragher has given final environmental approval for the proposed Gorgon gas development on Barrow Island.
Final approval for the revised and expanded project was granted with strong, new environmental conditions to provide higher levels of protection for regionally significant coral reefs and flatback marine turtles.
Approval also follows Mrs. Faragher's consultation with other decision makers, namely the State Development, Mines and Petroleum and Lands Ministers as required under the Environmental Protection Act 1986.
Significantly, the environmental conditions governing the project ensure:
- that coral lost due to dredging will continue to be confined to three per cent of the total coral area off the east coast of Barrow Island
- that monitoring is extended to significant coral reef outcrops outside impact zones
- artificial light emissions will be minimised to protect the local population of flatback marine turtles
- an extension of the turtle conservation program from 30 years to the total life of the project
- noise emissions to be incorporated into the long-term marine turtle management plan and other plans as required
- a requirement for the proponent to continue monitoring for subterranean fauna.
It is the first time that management of light emissions has been required as a project condition.
"Given the value of Barrow Island as a habitat for flatback turtles, this requirement is aimed at minimising light emissions and hence impact on the turtles," Mrs. Faragher said.
"In addition, I have required that the proponent's undertakings on the flatback turtle intervention program are incorporated into the project conditions. This will require the proponent to enhance the turtle population through means such as establishing hatcheries should the island's turtle numbers show decline."
Located off the northwestern coast of Western Australia in the Carnarvon Basin and on the Northwest Shelf, the Greater Gorgon area incorporates a number of gas fields in waters ranging from 722 to 4,265 feet (220 to 1,300 meters). With estimated reserves of 40 Tcf (1.1 Tcm) of gas, Greater Gorgon is Australia's largest undeveloped gas resource.
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