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Case Study

Australia Pacific LNG environmental impact statement and approvals support

Australian country side

The Australia Pacific LNG Project is a large-scale coal seam gas to liquefied natural gas project, the largest contemplated in Queensland. Advisian prepared the environmental impact assessment and obtained all key approvals to enable the project within a 10 month timeframe.

The Australia Pacific LNG (APLNG) Project is a joint venture between Origin Energy and ConocoPhillips. The project was the largest resource development ever proposed in Queensland and one of the largest in Australia. 

A world-class development, APLNG will take coal seam gas (CSG) and turn it into liquefied natural gas (LNG). The CSG will be collected from wells within the Surat Basin and transported via pipeline to a LNG facility on Curtis Island near Gladstone. 

Advisian (previously WorleyParsons) was commissioned to prepare the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the $35 billion project, and assist with securing and managing all major approvals.  

Key project statistics addressed in the EIS include:

  • Gas field development of 10,000 gas wells in an area of 570,000ha

  • A 450km high-pressure gas pipeline from gas fields to Gladstone

  • An 18Mtpa LNG facility and associated marine facilities at Curtis Island, Gladstone.

Our consultants have continued to support with approvals, the social impact management plan and stakeholder engagement plan, indigenous participation, management plans and monitoring surveys.

Approach

Environmental Impact Statement

The APLNG EIS assembled more than 200 technical experts from around Australia and the world to write the environmental, social-economic and engineering studies. The EIS was prepared in less than 10 months, with an EIS standard so high that no formal supplementary EIS was required. What’s more, from more than 20,000 hours of field work, no health and safety injuries or lost time incidents were recorded.

 

The EIS was prepared in less than 10 months, with an EIS standard so high that no formal supplementary EIS was required.

This EIS produced the first basin-wide groundwater assessment of the Surat Basin. This work comprised numerical modelling that reflected the complex hydrogeology, variable bed thickness and hydraulic properties, and accommodated dual phase flow. Hundreds of groundwater bores were also monitored during the EIS.

A new multi-criteria classification for terrestrial ecology values was developed for the project, which has subsequently been adopted by the regulators. Management is specific to ecological sensitivity categories, from avoidance of clearing, to clearing only for certain types of infrastructure. Habitat guidelines were also developed for threatened species, weeds, feral animals, rehabilitation and revegetation, and ecological fire.

Social Impact Management Plan

A Social Impact Management Plan was prepared under new Queensland Government guidelines, following extensive stakeholder engagement, social and economic research and baseline studies. 

This plan includes strategies for: 

  • Ongoing consultation

  • Regional community consultative committees 

  • Local content 

  • Workforce and training

  • Housing and accommodation

  • Community investment

  • Indigenous engagement

  • Community health and safety.

During the LNG facility’s construction and commissioning phase a variety of environmental compliance tasks were successfully delivered:

  • Approvals assistance including advice and preparing approval and approval amendment applications

  • Compliance coordination assistance including annual returns and financial assurance

  • Receiving environment (including shorebirds, mangroves and marine water quality) monitoring programs

  • Social and stakeholder engagement support

  • Noise and air quality assessments

  • Gap analysis of construction contractor documents

  • Updating management plans and tabulating all commitments

  • Gathering suitable evidence for external auditing of environmental approvals and logging this in the compliance tracking tool

  • Auditing of environmental approvals

  • Assisting the client project team with environmental knowledge and bringing them on the journey

  • Undertaking regulator liaison

Results 

The project was the first EIS in Queensland to provide the complete EIS document on the internet. The internet version allowed readers easier navigation and key word searching in the 10,000 page document. 

The EIS has enabled APLNG to gain environmental approval from both the Queensland and Australian Governments within two and a half years of publicly announcing the project.

The EIS has provided the basis for APLNG to develop its project in a manner that meets its long-term sustainability principles and commercial imperatives. 

The EIS won numerous awards, including:

  • Winner - Queensland Division Engineering Excellence Awards (Reports, Procedures and Systems) 2011

  • Finalist - National Engineering Excellence Awards 2011

  • Silver Award of Highly Commended – Consult Australia 2011

  • Winner of WorleyParsons’ ANZ Regional Managing Director’s Platinum Safety Award

These outcomes were achieved by Advisian despite:

  • The exceptional scale and size of the project

  • CSG to LNG being new to Australia

  • The project being concurrent with other mega developments (with a need to assess cumulative impacts)

  • The significant numbers and types of stakeholders to be engaged with

  • The tight project schedule

  • High expectations for quality, budget performance and safety from ConocoPhillips and Origin

  • High aspirations for sustainable development and a positive legacy from Origin and ConocoPhillips

  • The rapid pace of legislative change.

Advisian’s strong project leadership, committed staff, depth of capacity, disciplined application of project management systems, and a tightly-integrated approach with the client team, all came together to ensure the success of this project.

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