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West Australia Environment Agency to Rule Next Week on Gorgon

By Angela Macdonald-Smith

April 23 (Bloomberg) — Western Australia’s Environmental Protection Agencysaid it may release its recommendation to the government next week on whether to approve Chevron Corp.’s Gorgon liquefied natural gas project.

The agency may pass on its advice on April 30, provided its work is completed, spokesman Charlie Maling said today. After a two-week period for appeals, the state government will decide whether to allow the project and on any conditions to be imposed.

The Gorgon venture, which includes Exxon Mobil Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell Plc, reapplied last year for environmental consent after increasing planned capacity of the onshore plant by 50 percent. It had previously won the go-ahead in 2006 for a smaller version, to be built on the Barrow island nature reserve off the northwest coast, even after the environmental agency recommended it shouldn’t proceed.

The venture may win environmental approval “within days” from Western Australia’s government, the West Australian reported today, citing State Premier Colin Barnett. State endorsement “won’t be an issue,” he said in an interview in Perth in February.

The partners may clear all environmental hurdles by mid- year, Colin Beckett, Perth-based manager for the Greater Gorgon area at Chevron said in a Feb. 2 interview. The venture is targeting a decision by the year-end to proceed with what would be the nation’s biggest resources project, he said.

Chevron owns 50 percent of Gorgon and is the operator, while Exxon and Shell each owns 25 percent. The venture, which will have a capacity of 15 million metric tons a year, may cost A$50 billion to develop, Barnett said last month.

To contact the reporter on this story: Angela Macdonald-Smith in Sydney at[email protected]

Last Updated: April 23, 2009 02:34 EDT 

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