Pluto LNG Project Gets Green Light

The Australian Government has given approval under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 for Woodside's Pluto gas development in Western Australia to proceed on strict environmental conditions.

The EPBC Act approval given by the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, Malcolm Turnbull was welcomed by the Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources, Ian Macfarlane.

"The decision to grant environmental approval for the Pluto project will ensure that industry development can proceed with environmental conditions to protect threatened and migratory species, ecological communities and the Commonwealth marine environment," Mr. Turnbull said.

"Environment and heritage protection can be balanced with economic and industry development. One does not have to come at the expense of the other," Mr. Macfarlane said.

The Woodside development involves construction of a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) processing facility on the Burrup Peninsula with the gas transported onshore via a pipeline from the Pluto gas field, around 190km north-west of Karratha in Western Australia.

The environment conditions attached to the decision include requirements for management plans to mitigate any impacts on threatened species, notably the Olive Python, sea turtles and other marine mammals.

Woodside will also be required to put in place management plans to protect the Commonwealth marine environment, including a dredging and spoil disposal management plan, an oil spill contingency plan as well as offshore drilling operations, construction, installation and operations management plans.

The Woodside Pluto development will inject $17.6 billion into the national economy, including up to 3,000 direct jobs during construction and a further 200 direct jobs and 3,000 indirect jobs during operation.

"The Pluto project will stimulate the local region with an estimated 28 percent of the workforce residing locally," Mr. Macfarlane said.

The Ministers said that minimum targets for indigenous participation in the project, including in the construction and operational workforce and local supply contracts would also encourage the long-term development of the local indigenous community.