During late 2007 we decided to pursue a scope of three, five million tonnes per annum (MTPA) LNG trains to help improve economics and address rising industry cost pressures. (The project had already received approval for a two train development).
The environmental assessment process for the expanded three train scope started in February 2008 when the revision to the approved 2 x 5 MTPA LNG train proposal was formally referred to the Western Australian Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) and the Commonwealth Government.
The EPA's decision - which was advertised in March 2008 and received no objections - set the level of assessment at Public Environmental Review (PER) with an eight-week public review period. The Commonwealth Government agreed to assess the expanded proposal under the bilateral agreement with the WA Government.
The Public Environmental Review documentation was developed and provided for public review. Public submissions closed on 10 November 2008. A total of 18 submissions were received – 13 from Government agencies, four from non-government and/or community organisations and one from an individual. Importantly, no new issues were identified during this process when compared to the environmental assessment of the Approved Gorgon Gas Development (2 x 5 LNG train development).
The Gorgon Joint Venture responded to the issues raised in the submissions in writing to the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA). And, on 30 April 2009 the EPA released its report and recommendations (Report 1323) to the Minister for Environment on the revised proposal. In response, Chevron welcomed the EPA's recommendation that the revised and expanded Gorgon Project could meet the EPA's environmental objectives.
On 10 August 2009 the State Government approved the revised and expanded Project with the setting of rigorous environmental conditions for the construction and operation of the Gorgon Gas Development, including:
- The provision of an additional $30 million to the existing $32.5 million commitment to establish a North West Shelf Flatback Turtle Conservation Program which includes activities to survey, monitor and research turtle populations. The program's timing has also been extended from 30 to 60 years.
- An additional $20 million to be allocated to the Project's existing $40 million Net Conservation Benefits (NCBs) program to add to or improve biodiversity conservation values targeting, where possible, the biodiversity conservation values affected or occurring in similar bioregions to Barrow Island.
On 26 August 2009 the Commonwealth Government approved the revised and expanded Project and also issued a set of environmental conditions for the construction and operation of the Gorgon Gas Development.
To meet the State and Commonwealth environmental conditions of approval, a number of Environment Management Plans (EMPs) have been developed by Chevron Australia and approved by the State and Commonwealth Governments. It is a requirement that these documents are made available to the public for information and therefore these EMPs are presented below: