Australia's New LNG Plant to Target U.S. West Coast Market

Federal Industry Minister, Ian Macfarlane said that BHP Billiton's Pilbara LNG Projects have been granted Major Project Facilitation (MPF) status by the Australian Government.

BHP Billiton is currently undertaking a pre-feasibility study on the multi-billion dollar project to develop the Scarborough Gas field off the north-west coast of Western Australia and establish a new LNG processing facility near the township of Onslow, in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

"This project offers Australia an additional opportunity to access the emerging US west coast LNG market, particularly given the suitability of Scarborough gas in meeting the specifications of US suppliers," Mr. Macfarlane said.

"The proposed Pilbara LNG plant will include the largest capacity LNG train in Australia and there is scope for future expansion to service additional gas discoveries in the area, which will serve Australia's future export and domestic gas supply plans."

The project is expected to generate LNG export sales of $20 billion and will offer significant opportunities in terms of regional economic benefits. Employment during construction is predicted to peak at 2500 with about 150 full time jobs created in the operation phase.

The Scarborough field is located 8270 kms northwest of Onslow and it is intended that gas will be transported to shore via a sub sea pipeline for LNG processing.

The field, which was discovered in 1979, is estimated by BHP Billiton to contain a proven plus probable gas resource of 8 trillion cubic feet.

MPF status assists in the development of long term, sustainable projects in Australia.

It is administered by Invest Australia, the national investment agency, and provides the project with a consolidated process for obtaining the necessary government approvals.

Invest Australia will assist BHP Billiton by working with Federal and State agencies to help facilitate the investment.