Approval signals a new era

GLADSTONE'S a go for gas.

Federal Environmental Minister Tony Burke announced the long-awaited environmental approvals yesterday of two liquefied natural gas plants on Curtis Island.

The approvals signal a new era for Australian energy and a new era for Gladstone.

Mr Burke said both Santos (GLNG) and Queensland Gas Company (QCLNG) will have to meet tough standards with more than 300 conditions applying to coal seam extraction and a further 51 conditions relating to the Gladstone harbour.

Both GLNG aim to produce a combined 15.7 million tonnes per year of LNG, equivalent to nearly 90 per cent of current Australian LNG exports.

The approval covers the development of coal seam gas resources in the Bowen and Surat Basins around Roma, construction of a pipeline from the gas fields to the coast, and construction of up to three processing trains at a liquefied natural gas plant and export facility on Curtis Island.

Acting mayor Gail Sellers said the announcement is welcome news for the people of the Gladstone region and will be the impetus for further growth and economic prosperity for residents.

“The people of the Gladstone Region can expect growth in population; business and consumer confidence across all sectors and prosperity,” Cr Sellers said.

“The greatest challenge will be meeting the demands placed on social infrastructure.”

Santos chief executive officer David Knox said the environmental approval was a significant milestone for GLNG as the project builds momentum towards a final investment decision later this year.

“We acknowledge the Federal Government's commitment to encouraging the development of the coal seam gas-to-LNG industry, which promises billions of dollars of investment and the creation of thousands of jobs,” Mr Knox said.

“We look forward to working with the community and government to deliver our project.”

Under the dredging approval, Gladstone Ports Corporation will have to comply with more than 50 strict environmental conditions for its western basin dredging project.

Gladstone Ports Corporation's board chairman Ian Brusasco welcomed the Federal Government's approval of the Western Basin Dredging and Disposal Project EIS.

“All of these projects are great for the region,” Mr Brusasco said.

“They are bringing new industries and employment to Gladstone and show the importance of the city as a growing industrial centre in Queensland and Australia.”

He said one of the key aspects of the approvals process has been the issue of environmental management and that as the harbour is developed for the LNG industry, care is being taken to ensure environmental sustainability.

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