Canberra delays CBM decisions
Australia’s environment minister has delayed a decision on approving coalbed methane gas projects in Queensland State worth billions of dollars.
News wires 04 October 2010 02:07 GMT – After an earlier delay ahead of elections in August, new Minister Tony Burke had said he expected to stick to a deadline for a decision on environmental approval for the projects by 11 October.
But The Australian newspaper said Burke had signed extension notices on the projects, involving Australian energy company Santos and the UK’s BG Group, and now had until 22 October to decide on environmental approval. The paper quoted the minister as saying the extension was necessary “to ensure that I fully consider all relevant matters under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.”
Although most industry watchers expect projects to get approval, the government is likely to set some conditions including additional research on and monitoring of CBM gas extraction impact on water supplies.
Protracted delays in environmental approval could also delay final investment decisions on Santos’s 7.2 million tonne per annum Gladstone LNG project and BG Group’s 8.5 Mtpa Curtis Island project.
Final investment decisions for the A$15 billion Santos ($14.58 billion) project and for BG’s project, which is estimated to cost between A$10 billion and A$15 billion, have been expected by the end of this year.
Origin and ConocoPhillips are also expecting environmental approval for their Australia Pacific LNG project in the fourth quarter of this year, reported Reuters.