The Western Australian Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has recommended the Waitsia Gas Project Stage 2 proposal for environmental approval, subject to strict conditions on water management, flora and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
AWE Perth Pty Ltd, under the Mitsui E&P Australia brand, is proposing to construct and operate the 250 terajoule per day gas plant and related infrastructure approximately 16 kilometres south-east of the Dongara-Port Denison town sites in Western Australia. Hydraulic fracture stimulation does not form part of this proposal, which will further develop the Waitsia gas field.
EPA Chair Dr Tom Hatton said it was the second proposal the EPA had assessed under its new GHG emissions guidance, which was released in April 2020.
“The EPA welcomes the proponent’s commitment to emissions targets that go above and beyond the EPA’s long-standing policy of offset reservoir emissions,” Dr Hatton said.
“AWE Perth Pty Ltd have also committed to emissions targets that require the project to avoid, reduce or offset greenhouse emissions over time and a trajectory that delivers net zero emissions by 2050.”
“The EPA notes AWE has incorporated a number of design elements and technologies along with monitoring and management programs to achieve emission reduction. AWE has also proposed to undertake a refit of the plant and equipment after 10 years of operation to adopt further GHG abatement measures if they are available to further support their endeavours.”
In its assessment, the EPA found that potential impacts on flora and vegetation from the clearing of 17 hectares of native vegetation, dust deposition, weeds and dieback could be adequately managed through a recommended flora and vegetation management plan.
The assessment further noted abstraction of groundwater would be regulated through the Rights in Water and Irrigation Act 1914 while the construction and operation of the plant would be regulated under the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Resources Act 1967.
The proposal is for gas extracted from the production wells to be conveyed to gas hubs. Gas will then be directed via flowlines to the proposed Waitsia gas plant for processing, before being conveyed to the nearby Dampier to Bunbury Natural Gas Pipeline.
The EPA’s report to the Minister for Environment is now open for a two-week public appeal period, closing 21 September 2020. Appeals can be made at www.appealsconvenor.wa.gov.au.
The Minister for Environment will make the final decision on the proposal. EPA Report 1687 is available at https://www.epa.wa.gov.au/epa-assessment-reports.