Premier of Western Australia, Colin Barnett, has greeted the news that Woodside is not going ahead with the proposed onshore development of Browse LNG at James Price Point near Broome with great disappointment.
“While I acknowledge that this was a commercial decision by Woodside and its joint venture partners, I am bitterly disappointed,” Barnett said.
“I recognise Woodside has a responsibility to its shareholders, however my obligation is to the people of Western Australia, and this decision does not benefit them.”
The Premier said the decision not to proceed with the development as it is currently proposed would be a loss to WA.
“Developing this huge natural resource, which is owned by all Australians, offshore is not in the best interests of the nation or the people of WA,” he said.
Barnett said there was no doubt that this decision would deny Australians jobs.
It would also mean the loss of a $1.5billion benefits package negotiated by Kimberley Aboriginal groups.
“The Aboriginal people of the Kimberley will be denied a genuine opportunity for self-determination through real, long-term employment,” the Premier said.
Barnett said the State Government had done everything it could to support the proposal for a gas precinct.
“The Western Australian Government could not have done more to secure onshore processing of Browse Basin gas at James Price Point,” he said.
The Premier said work on land acquisition and environmental approvals were close to being concluded and should not be presented in any way as a reason why the project could not go ahead at James Price Point.
Barnett said he understood Woodside was looking at alternative ways of developing the gas resource, including – the as yet untested – Floating LNG (FLNG).
“While FLNG will deliver royalty income and there will be some jobs for WA in servicing the project, there is no doubt this is a missed opportunity to secure thousands of jobs in construction and in the operation of a gas precinct and to secure gas for our domestic economy,” he said.
“FLNG also raises a new set of safety issues.”
The Premier said he would do what he could to ensure the option of a smaller land-based processing plant was still a prospect.