A Gorgon spokesman told the West Australian that soaring construction costs were already a major problem and Barrow Island remained the only viable option for the joint venture.
Western Australia’s Environmental Protection Authority last week as it could not approve the project as Gorgon posed too great a threat to endangered flora and fauna on Barrow Island, which is an A-Class Reserve.
But the WA and Federal Governments have indicated they will ensure that the program goes ahead regardless. The state’s environment minister has the authority to overrule EPA decisions.
Gorgon’s budget was originally set at $A11 billion but analysts say it may have already blown out to more than $15 billion.
Environmental approvals have done much to delay the project and the partners may now be wishing they had originally planned to establish the gas liquefaction plant on the mainland, but relocating at this stage of development could add another $1.5 billion to costs, according to some estimates.
The Gorgon partners are Chrvron Australia (50% and operator, Shell Developments Australia (25%) and ExxonMobil (25%).