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    Gas plant to be near Broome, says premierFont Size: Decrease Increase Print Page: Print Amanda O'Brien | July 31, 2009
    Article from: The Australian
    PREMIER Colin Barnett will force companies developing the massive Browse Basin gas resources off the West Australian coast to process the gas at a nearby plant he wants built in the Kimberley.

    In a blunt attack on several petroleum giants who reportedly want to pipe the gas to the Pilbara for processing, using existing plant facilities, Mr Barnett said he would not allow it and they should "take a reality check".

    "Recognise the policy position and deal with it," he said in Perth.

    "The Browse Basin is the next frontier of petroleum development in Australia. It is an extraordinarily valuable asset and it is owned by the Australian people. That gas will be developed in the north in the Kimberley region."

    Mr Barnett wants the new processing plant built at James Price Point near Broome, which is located near the Browse Basin fields, to create jobs and other benefits in the area.

    Woodside, which has a 50 per cent stake in a major project proposed for the area has publicly supported him, but its joint venture partners -- BP, Chevron, Shell and BHP Billiton -- have not.

    Mr Barnett said the Pilbara infrastructure was needed for the gas being extracted from the local Carnarvon fields and it would not be shared.

    "The Browse gasfield may prove to be as large, even larger, than the Carnarvon field. Therefore, there will be a separate development," he said.

    "These are not adjacent fields, they are 1000km apart."

    Woodside chief executive Don Voelte admitted there were divisions among his partners, but he said there was "an awful lot going on behind the scenes" to resolve it. He predicted the Kimberley processing plant would proceed and that everyone would get on board.

    "We just got there probably a little too soon for the comfort of some of our joint venturers," he said.

    Mr Barnett said he had the power to stop the gas being taken to the Pilbara.

    "That requires pipeline easements, all sorts of things, and the state policy is that the Browse gas will be developed at James Price Point," he said. "To the best of my knowledge, that is also the federal government's policy.

    "People just need to appreciate that the world has changed. With the global financial crisis it changed. You will find governments both here and elsewhere will take a far more direct role in policy and development of natural resources."

    Speaking after a ceremony to mark 25 years since the Woodside-operated North West Shelf Venture began processing natural gas in the Pilbara, Mr Voelte said the future looked bright, as he also talked up Woodside's Pluto LNG project in the Carnarvon Basin.

    Partway through phase one of Pluto, which is due to start LNG shipments in early 2011, Mr Voelte said the company would soon move to front-end engineering design for the next stage.

    "Pluto's turning out to be a real home-run for us; we're really happy with it, our board of directors is extremely pleased," he said. "When we start bringing that gas on in early 2011, it's going to really be a step-change for our company.

    "We'll be announcing something else about Pluto trains, probably in our half-year results, which will indicate that we see Pluto to be a multi-train venture."
 
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