Australia: Woodside's Browse Upstream Draft EIS Available for Public Review

Woodside Makes Browse Upstream Draft EIS Public

The proposed Browse LNG Development has reached a key milestone with the release for public review of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the upstream component of the development.

The Draft Upstream EIS concerns the construction, operation and de-commissioning of all the offshore aspects of the Browse LNG Development located in Commonwealth waters, including offshore processing platforms and wells, and subsea pipelines and infrastructure.

Woodside is the operator of the Browse LNG Development, which seeks to commercialise gas and condensate resources in three offshore fields in the Browse Basin, 290 km off the northern Western Australian coast.

The development could create up to 6000 jobs onshore and 2000 jobs offshore during construction, and generate up to A$50 billion in GDP for the Australian economy.

A Native Title Agreement signed in June this year also provides for a significant package of financial, employment, education, training and other initiatives for Indigenous people in the Kimberley, subject to a final investment decision on e project.

The initiatives contained in the package are worth in excess of A$1 billion and represent one of the most comprehensive benefits packages established between a resource company and Native Title claimants in Australia.

Woodside Senior Vice President – Browse, Michael Hession, said the Draft Upstream EIS demonstrated that the offshore component of the Browse LNG Development could be built and operated in an environmentally and socially responsible way.

“Browse represents a major opportunity for Australia to meet the world’s growing demand for cleaner forms of energy,” Dr Hession said.

“It is likely to be a major part of Woodside’s growth as an energy supplier. We are also working closely with Traditional Owners to make sure that Kimberley Indigenous people can realise the economic and social development opportunities from this project.”

The publication of the Draft Upstream EIS features 17 years of research that has shed new light on WA’s northern offshore ecosystems, including Scott Reef. Woodside has partnered with the WA Museum and the Australian Institute of Marine Science in a long term Scott Reef research program that extends the understanding of one of Western Australia’s most remote and diverse marine environments.

Studies in the Draft Upstream EIS define:

  • Existing ecosystems in the upstream operating area
  • Potential environmental impacts due to construction and operations
  • Proposed management and mitigation strategies to limit potential impacts

The Draft Upstream EIS is open for public review and comment from 14 November 2011 until 25 January 2012. Copies of the Draft EIS can be downloaded from the Woodside website at www.woodside.com.au/browse.

Submissions can be lodged by post or electronically.

Woodside will respond to submissions received during the public comment period, and these responses will be published in a supplement to the Draft Upstream EIS.

The Commonwealth Department for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities will assess the Draft Upstream EIS and supplement responding to public submissions, before making a recommendation to the Commonwealth Environment Minister on approval.

Source: Spectrum ASA, November 14, 2011

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