BECHTEL has been chosen by Queensland Gas Company and BG Group to build the liquid natural gas (LNG) plant on Curtis Island.
Under the agreement with Bechtel, front-end engineering design (FEED) of the plant will begin immediately although no work on the ground is expected before 2010 following environmental assessment.
The announcement was made just as a concerned community group was preparing for a public meeting planned for last night to discuss the proposed expansion of the Gladstone State Development Area into Curtis Island.
Work on the project will include a 380 kilometre pipeline to Curtis Island and the development of an LNG terminal which are expected to provide several thousand new jobs.
QGC's managing director Richard Cottee said confirmation of the contract between the parties "is another important milestone in the steady progress of the Queensland Curtis LNG Project".
"With its substantial experience in global LNG plant construction, Bechtel is a natural choice for the project," he said.
The company has built about one-third of all LNG production capacity worldwide.
The plant is being designed with one production unit initially to supply three to four million tonnes of LNG a year for export markets with potential expansion via additional units to up to 12 million tonnes a year, subject to additional gas reserves.
As part of the engineering work, Bechtel will refine its development of the ConoPhillips Optimise Cascade Process which the parties agree is the best suited to a plant supplied by coal seam gas. Under this process gas is cooled and ultimately liquefied through three cycles of refrigeration.
The Queensland Curtis LNG, granted significant project status by the Queensland Government, is to be situated on acreage in the North China Bay Area on the south-western side of Curtis Island.
The project comprises the gas field in the Surat Basin which will supply the gas, the 380 kilometre pipeline to deliver the gas and the development and construction of the plant on the island.