Australia’s AGL Energy has pulled the plug on its planned liquefied natural gas import project at Crib Point in Victoria, Australia.

Development of the proposed LNG import jetty project has ceased with immediate effect, AGL confirmed on Monday.

The decision follows the 30 March determination by Victoria's Minister for Planning that the project would have unacceptable environmental effects.

The Sydney-based company had considered sites in the states of New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland before deciding on Crib Point (Western Port), where there is an existing jetty, for its touted maximum 2.5 million tonnes per annum project based on a floating storage and regasification unit.

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AGL said it takes its environmental obligations seriously and works to ensure it meets all regulatory requirements and engages with the communities where it operates, so as to respond to their concerns.

“From the outset, AGL recognised both the opportunity of the site at Crib Point and the environmental standards we needed to meet in a location of this kind,” said AGL.

“We presented a scientifically sound case, backed by experts, which demonstrated that the potential environmental effects were manageable. [However], AGL acknowledges the IAC (Inquiry & Advisory Committee) findings and minister’s determination.”

The company said that engagement with the community and relevant parties had been integral to this process and AGL thanked those involved for their participation.

ExxonMobil also axed import plan

US supermajor ExxonMobil two years ago shelved plans to build an LNG import terminal in Victoria after failing to secure enough customers for the project.

However, several other players still have ambitions for LNG import schemes in Australia — most involving FSRUs — on the nation’s populous eastern and south-eastern seaboard.

Such projects at various stages of development and consideration include Australian Industrial Energy’s Port Kembla in New South Wales, Viva Energy’s Geelong Energy Hub in Victoria and Venice Energy’s proposed Outer Harbor project near the South Australian capital Adelaide.

AGL said it has “a highly flexible gas portfolio and a supply strategy”, which will enable customer demand to be met from existing and new domestic supply sources and proposed third party regasification projects, leveraging LNG supply options developed for the Crib Point gas import terminal project.

The company had previously estimated total committed or incurred expenditure of A$130 million (US$100.3 million), of which A$22 million has already been expensed.

As a result, AGL expects to recognise a pre-tax loss of up to A$108 million as a significant item in its 2021 financial year statements.