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Several multibillion-dollar liquefied natural gas plants are being built in Gladstone

In Gladstone, vacancy rates jumped from 0.9 per cent to 5.8 per cent in the year to September 2013, Real Estate Institute of Queensland figures show.

Arrow Energy is planning a large-scale LNG Plant on Curtis Island, off Gladstone.

Formerly known as the Shell Australia LNG Project, the proposed Arrow LNG Plant will be supplied with coal seam gas from Arrow's reserves in the Surat and Bowen Basins.

The project has three key components: the LNG Plant and its supporting infrastructure, the feed gas pipeline (and tunnel), and dredging activities.

Arrow lodged the draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for this project in December 2011 which was approved by the Coordinator-General for public release in March 2012.

The period for public review and comment closed on 28 May 2012.

The supplementary report to the Environmental Impact Statement (SREIS) completes Arrow's responses to comments received, provides further information on the project and the potential impacts and confirms the conclusions of the EIS.

The SREIS was approved by the Coordinator-General for public release on 1 February 2013.

The project received its environmental approval from the Queensland Government on 10 September 2013 and is now awaiting a determination by the Federal Government.

High costs threaten to stall LNG plant investment

22 November, 2013 - Arrow Energy’s $20 billion plan for an LNG facility on Curtis Island could be halted as its parent company Shell balks at Australia’s increasingly high development costs.

Shell has reportedly told its Arrow counterparts in Brisbane that the proposed plant was underperforming compared to other investment opportunities.

"Staff have been advised that we are still looking for more value in the project, including collaboration, in order to offer shareholders (Shell and PetroChina) a more competitive proposition," an Arrow spokesman said told The Australian.

"Arrow has previously stated that it is results and value-focused and not schedule driven."

The move comes as the International Energy Agency downgraded long-term Australian LNG export forecasts because of the high costs associated with projects under construction.

About seven million tonnes of LNG a year from the IEA's 2035 estimate was downgraded.

"The (cost) increases threaten to hold back plans for additional export projects, especially as there are large investment needs elsewhere in the mining and energy sector," the IEA said.

"Commitments to new resource developments in Australia have slowed markedly over the last year or so and the prospects of another round of major Australian LNG projects will depend heavily on how costs evolve, on the deployment of new, potentially less costly technologies such as floating LNG and on competition from other regions, notably North America."

$20 billion plan for an LNG facility on Curtis Island

Doubts grow over ability of gas wells to feed Curtis LNG

19 November 2013 - DOUBTS about the ability of Queensland's coal seams to produce enough gas to feed Gladstone's LNG export plants are growing, with claims that many wells are not producing as expected and that more gas could be needed.

The concerns, which have been rejected by the three proponents spending $70 billion on projects to export gas through Curtis Island, have been backed up by Houston-based drilling supplier Superior Energy Services.

The supplier, which has turnover of more than $4.2bn and employs more than 14,000 people around the globe, says it foresees growth in its eastern Australian business because poor well performance means more drilling in Queensland and South Australia.

"When we are talking to the operators in Queensland, we hear from them that the coal-seam gas (wells) that currently have been drilled are actually not meeting the production expectations," SES head of Asia Pacific, Ruud Boendermaker, told investors in Houston last week.

"So what they have to do is to drill a lot more CSG wells in the next few years because of the commitments to the LNG trains that they are currently building in the north of Queensland."


Greg Hunt releases UNESCO-ordered reef report

1 November 2013 - THE cumulative impacts of future port developments along the Great Barrier Reef coastline will form a key part of environmental impact assessments, the draft strategic assessment of the reef revealed today.

While the report has given some weight to the role dredging and port developments play in the state of the reef, it highlighted more urgent concerns from nutrient run-off, climate change and the crown of thorns starfish.

Ordered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee and delayed by more than six months by the previous federal government, Environment Minister Greg Hunt released the report in Townsville.

He said the report marked a new "halt and reverse" approach to turn the health of the reef around, including examining the cumulative impacts of both human activities and natural forces.

The report also recommended a new "net benefit policy" be introduced to help ensure any "activities" produce an overall benefit to the reef.

That policy may lead to a more extensive form of existing mitigation strategies, where if a development will damage the environment, then proponents must mitigate the activity by putting aside areas for preservation.

He was also joined by Queensland Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney and state Environment Minister Andrew Powell, who released the state's coastal strategic assessment, the other key part of the UNESCO recommendations.

Mr Seeney said the state's assessment showed the "decisive steps" the Newman Government had taken to ensure the future health of the reef.

He also said it confirmed a commitment by the state government of a "prohibition" of any capital dredging of "deep water port facilities" outside of existing ports for the next decade.

Mr Seeney has previously said after the 10 years prohibition finishes, any further rules around port developments would be a decision of the government of the day.

However, environmental groups remain concerned about the impact of proposed dredging projects near the reef, including the Abbot Point proposal due for a decision next month.

WWF Australia spokesman Nick Heath said the assessments "give no room to approve dredging and dumping in the inshore waters of the reef".

"Two wrongs don't make a right. With the Reef in such a state already, often as a result of fertiliser pollution, it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever to dump in Reef waters," he said.

The report comes after a recent scientific report, completed for the Federal Environment Department, showed dredging impacts could be worse, and flow further on the reef, than previously thought.

Mr Hunt said the draft report was now open for public comment, and would remain so until January 30 next year, to allow adequate time for all stakeholders to have their say.

The Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area Strategic Assessment and the program reports can be downloaded here.


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