Gorgon partners make Barrow case

Aiming to win over a sceptical public, politicians and environmentalists, ChevronTexaco and its partners today released a development proposal for the huge Gorgon gas field off the WA coast, including the construction of a controversial gas processing facility on Barrow Island.

The Gorgon Joint Venture - comprising of ChevronTexaco, Shell and ExxonMobil said they are seeking "in-principle" approval from the Gallop Government for "restricted use" of Barrow Island for foundation development of Gorgon.

According to operator ChevronTexaco, the development would cost $6 billion, create 1700 jobs in WA alone and 6000 jobs nationally.

Gorgon partners argue the key to commercialising the huge field - said to contain in excess of 40 trillion cubic feet of gas - is the use of Barrow Island as a location for gas processing. The partners point out the island has produced more than 300 million barrels of oil over the past 40 years.

Other alternatives such as development on the mainland have been ruled out for economic reasons while use of the Montebello Islands - a cheaper option - is considered inappropriate because of the presence of nuclear radiation from British atomic testing.

Gorgon partners will submit the development proposal to the government on Monday. The review is now also available for public comment for a period of six weeks. The partners said they are hoping for a "in principle" decision from the government by September, 2003.

The proposal will then go forward to a full submission, but it is hoped that 80% of the required background will have been completed by that stage.

The study contains a full outline of the carbon dioxide sequestration proposal, one of the key environmental concerns over the use of the corrosive Gorgon reservoir gas.

Also outlined are the various sites on the island suitable for locating the plant.

The project is owned by Chevron Texaco (57.1%), Shell (28.6%) and ExxonMobil (14.3%).

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