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Chevron, Partners May Approve Gorgon LNG in August

By Jason Scott and Angela Macdonald-Smith

May 1 (Bloomberg) — Chevron Corp. and its partners in the Gorgon liquefied natural gas venture in Western Australia may give the go-ahead for the investment in August or September, state Premier Colin Barnett said.

Construction of the project, which may cost A$50 billion ($36 billion), may start in the first half of next year, Barnett told ABC Radio in Perth today. Building Gorgon’s onshore LNG plant on the Barrow Island nature reserve off the northwest coast won’t harm the environment at the site, he said.

Western Australia’s Environmental Protection Authority yesterday recommended the government approve the project for construction under “stringent” conditions. The partners should change the location of some equipment at the site to avoid harming flatback turtles that nest on a nearby beach and do real-time monitoring on the effects of dredging to avoid destroying coral, it said.

“It’s had absolutely rigorous assessment by the EPA, and the Commonwealth in my view will be accepting of that assessment and I expect the project to now go ahead,” Barnett told ABC Radio in an interview this morning.

The venture partners, which include Exxon Mobil Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell Plc, are working toward a final investment decision by the end of the year, Colin Beckett, Chevron’s manager for the Greater Gorgon area, reiterated yesterday. Initial engineering and design work was completed in February and the venture is in the process of seeking and assessing bids for work contracts, he said in an April 29 interview.

The venture has yet to release its own estimate of the project cost.

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

Last Updated: April 30, 2009 21:40 EDT 

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