Delay tipped on gas impact plan

A DECISION on the liquefied natural gas Environmental Impact Statement in the hands of the Federal Government is unlikely to be made by October 11, according to a leading financial services firm.

JP Morgan stated in a client note that new Environment Minister Tony Burke was unlikely to stick to the deadline set by former environment minister Peter Garrett, of October 11.

“Burke seems to have a definite consultative approach which would tend to indicate that he will take his time on the first major decision he will be tasked with as environment minister,” the report, prepared by Benjamin Wilson, stated.

“Based on Burke's former ministerial posting and his approach, it would seem to us that he is likely to be empathetic to the concerns of farmers regarding the issue of large-scale CSG (coal seam gas) developments and the possible impact on water tables in the Surat and Bowen basins. On the positive side, however, Burke appears to be a supporter of proactive measures to address climate change. We are not overly concerned at the outcome of the federal EIS process, more so the timing of the approval and the conditions precedent. We think if the Federal EIS approval process slips beyond October, then STO's (Santos) target of a GLNG (Gladstone LNG) T1(train one) FID (final investment decision) by end of 2010 will be very challenging.”

Gladstone Industry Leader Group chief executive officer Kurt Hiedecker, on Monday, said there was uncertainty surrounding the projects, which was affecting business decisions, particularly the LNG companies.



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