Australian State Slows AGL LNG Import Project with Environment Review

By Sonali Paul, Reuters

MELBOURNE – Plans by Australia’s AGL Energy to start importing LNG from 2021 will be delayed after the state of Victoria called for the company and its pipeline partner to submit a full environmental assessment of their project.

The review process typically takes nine to 12 months, which means AGL will not be able to reach a final investment decision on the $178 million (A$250 million) jetty project by June 2019, as it had hoped.

AGL had been on track to be the first of four proposed LNG import projects looking to fill an expected gas supply shortfall in southeastern Australia from 2021.

AGL declined to comment Wednesday on how the environmental review would affect the project’s timing but said it was committed to working with the community and following all state and regulatory assessment requirements.

“Crib Point will be a safe and environmentally responsible project, making gas supply for Victorians more secure, whilst critically bringing much needed competition to place downward pressure on gas prices,” AGL General Manager Phaedra Deckart, who is leading the project, said in an email.

The state’s move follows protests in the community around the Western Port location where AGL plans to build a jetty to park a ship that would regasify imported LNG and hook it up to a new gas pipeline to be built by APA Group.

“While this project has great potential, it’s critical we assess its impacts thoroughly, to protect the community and the environment,” state Planning Minister Richard Wynne said in a statement on Tuesday.

The state’s Labor government, heading to an election in November, has yet to determine the scope of the review, but it would include looking at the impact of AGL’s floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) on the internationally recognized wetlands area around the proposed jetty.

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