Australia’s Woodside has received another key approval for its giant US$12 billion Scarborough gas project, for which it is hoping to take the final investment decision later this year.

Woodside on 11 August 2021 said it has been granted, subject to certain conditions, environmental approval of the state waters (nearshore) component for its proposed Scarborough development by the Western Australian Minister for Environment, Amber-Jade Sanderson.

Ministerial Statement 1172 authorises the installation of an approximate 32-kilometre section of the Scarborough trunkline within state waters, together with associated activities required to construct the trunkline.

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Woodside acting chief executive Meg O’Neill welcomed the minister’s decision to approve the proposed Scarborough development activities in state waters.

“This is an important regulatory milestone as we now have both Commonwealth and state primary environmental approvals in place to support a final investment decision for the Scarborough development.

“Scarborough gas contains negligible reservoir carbon dioxide. Combined with the adoption of best available proven technology in design at Pluto Train 2, these developments will be amongst the lowest-carbon LNG sources globally for Woodside’s North Asian customers,” she said.

Extensive stakeholder consultation has been completed on the nearshore proposal, including a four-week public review of the draft dredging and spoil disposal management plan.

Extraction and processing of Scarborough’s gas in Commonwealth waters was assessed separately under the Scarborough offshore project proposal and was accepted by regulator, the National Offshore Petroleum Safety & Environmental Management Authority (Nopsema) in March 2020.

Woodside is targeting the final investment decision for Scarborough and Pluto Train 2 in the second half of 2021.

Woodside is planning to develop the Scarborough field through a large offshore production facility and a 430-kilometre subsea pipeline to a new 5 million tonnes per annum liquefied natural gas train at its existing Pluto facility.

Scarborough gas will primarily be processed through Train 2, but the project is being designed with the potential to produce 8 million tpa of LNG, with the remaining 3 million tpa being processed through train one at Pluto and/or at the Woodside-operated North West Shelf LNG facility.

Woodside earlier this month revealed a 5% increase in the estimated capital cost of the combined Scarborough deep-water gas project and new liquefaction train at the Pluto project in Western Australia.

The revised cost estimate is US$12 billion on a 100% basis, comprising $5.7 billion for the offshore component and $6.3 billion for the onshore scope.