The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has recommended approval to increase the life of Woodside Energy’s North West Shelf (NWS) Extension Project with strict conditions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the existing facility — operating since 1984 — to net zero by 2050.
EPA Chair Professor Matthew Tonts said greenhouse gas emissions had been a critical part of the environmental impact assessment over more than three years.
He said the EPA had insisted on additional measures for the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions to those proposed by the North West Shelf Joint Venture in its Greenhouse Gas Management Plan.
“If unabated, the extension proposal would have emitted a total of 385 million tonnes of CO2-e over its life. But through this assessment, we have been able to insist on a reduction of more than 250 million tonnes,” Professor Tonts said. “Conditions require the proponent to avoid, reduce and/or offset the total quantity of reservoir carbon dioxide emissions released to the atmosphere from the issue date of any ministerial approval to 2029.”
The Extension Proposal is located on the Burrup Peninsula, 18 kilometres north-west of Karratha.
The North West Shelf Joint Venture, operated by Woodside Energy Limited, proposes to extend the life of its Karratha gas plant to enable the processing of third-party gas and fluids until 2070.
In its report to the Minister for Environment today, the EPA also recommended conditions to ensure no adverse impacts to the Murujuga rock art.
“Requiring the proponent to reduce emissions such as nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds by at least 40 per cent by 2030 through improvements to technology have formed a significant part of our recommended conditions,” Professor Tonts said. “The EPA also requires the proponent to meet the objectives and standards derived from the results of the Murujuga Rock Art Monitoring Program.”
Woodside Energy Executive Vice President Australian Operations Fiona Hick said the NWS Joint Venture would carefully consider the conditions outlined by the EPA.
“After extended engagement with the EPA and relevant stakeholders over more than three years, the release of the EPA Report and recommended conditions marks an important step towards securing the future of the NWS Project and ongoing benefits for our community.
“At a time of heightened concern around energy security, the NWS Project has an important role to play in delivering natural gas to local and international customers, providing energy that can support their decarbonisation commitments,” she said.
The EPA’s report to the Minister for Environment is now open for a three-week public appeal period, closing 21 July 2022. Appeals should be directed to the Office of the Appeals Convenor. The Minister for Environment will make the final decision on the proposal.