The Australia Pacific LNG Board this mornign announced it had approved the development of a second 4.5 million tonne per annum (mtpa) production train for its coal seam gas to liquefied natural gas project on Curtis Island.
The Final Investment Decision has been expected for some time.
The second stage Final Investment Decision includes the further development of related upstream gas gathering and processing infrastructure as well as the formal approval for Bechtel to commence construction of the second production train.
Australia Pacific LNG Chief Executive Officer, Page Maxson said, "Today's announcement is an important milestone for the Australia Pacific LNG project, and is the final step in the approvals process for our 9.0 mtpa coal seam gas to liquefied natural gas project.
"Substantial progress has already been made on our project in the gas fields, along the pipeline and at the liquefaction facility; and with this final approval in place, we are on track to supply our customers with a cleaner-burning and reliable energy source," Mr Maxson said.
The cost of the full two-train CSG to LNG development is estimated to be A$23 billion.
Construction of Stage 1 on Curtis Island commenced in May 2011, with site works and development on schedule for the project's first LNG exports to begin mid-2015. Exports from the second LNG train are expected to commence in 2016.
The Australia Pacific LNG project currently employs 4,000 people, mostly in Queensland, and will create 6,000 construction jobs and 1,000 operational jobs for the ongoing operation of the project.
"We are focussed on ensuring Queensland benefits from this project through the creation of opportunities for suppliers and contractors, and to date we have spent more than $2.3 billion with local companies," Mr Maxson said.
In April 2011, Australia Pacific LNG and Sinopec Corp. signed a sales agreement for 4.3 mtpa of LNG for 20 years from mid-2015 and a Subscription Agreement in which Sinopec Corp. subscribed for a 15 per cent equity interest in Australia Pacific LNG. The first train of the project was sanctioned in July 2011, followed by the signing of a binding agreement
with Kansai Electric in November 2011 for the sale and purchase of approximately 1.0 mtpa of LNG for 20 years from 2016.