Australian energy giant Woodside unveils controversial coastal gas drill plan

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Sydney [Australia], November 23 (ANI/Xinhua): Australian oil and gas giant Woodside Petroleum unveiled its multi-billion dollar plans to drill for liquified natural gas (LNG) off the Australian coast which caused concerns of the environmental group.

The project, worth 16.5 billion Australian dollars (about 11.92 billion U.S. dollars), is centred around the Scarborough gas field which lies in the Indian Ocean, some 375 km off the northwest of the West Australian (WA) coast.

Woodside chief executive Meg O’Neill said on Monday that approving the development was a “landmark achievement”.”Today’s decisions set Woodside on a transformative path,” she said. “Scarborough will be a significant contributor to Woodside’s cash flows, the funding of future developments and new energy products, and shareholder returns.”The development will include the creation of a 430 km pipeline linking Scarborough to the mainland where the gas will be processed at Woodside’s Pluto LNG plant at Karratha of WA.

A second LNG train and new domestic gas facility at the Pluto site will also be constructed to handle the production of eight million tonnes of gas per annum.

Monday’s announcement coincided with the finalization of an August deal for Woodside to buy fellow resource giant BHP’s oil and gas business to create one of the world’s biggest independent energy companies with operations across Australia, the United States and Africa.

“Woodside and BHP’s respective oil and gas portfolios and experienced teams are better together. The combination will deliver the increased scale, diversity and resilience to better navigate the energy transition,” said O’Neill.

News of the ambitious LNG project has also been welcomed by WA government leaders who forecast it will generate about 3,200 jobs.

Such assurances, however, have not been well-received by environmental groups who believe the project defies international efforts to end new fossil fuel projects.

“The International Energy Agency, one of the world’s most conservative energy bodies, has said that there should be no new coal or gas projects, and yet here is Woodside… trying to rush this project through,” said Greenpeace Australia Pacific chief executive David Ritter. (ANI/Xinhua)