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    Pumped up for $200m gas project


    October 15, 2021 - MICHELLE ETHERIDGE

     

      PLANS for a $200m gas import project at Outer Harbor would require almost two million cubic metres of material dredged from the Port River bed.

      Adelaide-based Venice Energy wants to build a new two-berth wharf with room for two 300m vessels – one to transport liquefied natural gas and another to store it before the gas is distributed in SA.

      It could potentially also be exported to Victoria. Plan SA has released the designs for public consultation.

      Company boss Kym Winter-Dewhirst said there would be about one shipment of gas a month, helping secure enough supply for SA as domestic sources decline.

      “We’ve been pumping gas for 40 or 50 years … but some of those basins are starting to come under stress – there’s less gas and it’s becoming harder to extract,” he said.

      Gas shipments could come from places including Singapore and Western Australia. Mr Winter-Dewhirst said the project would have a life of about 10 years, helping supply gas during the transition towards renewable energy.

      The project would be capable of meeting about 40-50 per cent of SA’s gas demand, and 10-15 per cent of Victoria’s.

      Up to 350 people would find work building the “liquefied natural gas import facility” and up to 60 jobs would be created at its completion. If approved, Mr Winter-Dewhirst said construction would begin around July and take 12-14 months.

      Plans show about 1.8 million cubic metres of material would be dredged from the Port River bed and 100,000 cubic metres from the shoreline. Port Adelaide Residents Environment Protection Group secretary Tony Bazeley has raised concerns about how the project would affect seagrass and animals that use them as habitat.

      He is also concerned about pollutants being discharged into the Port River from biofouling management.

      Mr Winter-Dewhirst said the channel was already regularly dredged by the port authority, in strict accordance with EPA licence conditions.

      Conservation SA chief executive Craig Wilkins questioned why Australia needed to import gas.

      “Why isn’t enough South Australian produced gas reserved for SA’s domestic gas consumers?” he said. “There appears to be an abject failure of gas industry regulation if too much gas is being exported at the expense of domestic users.” Public submissions on the project must be received by November 11. PAGE 20: THE GAS ALTERNATIVE PAGE 28: EDITORIAL

      SO WHY IMPORT?

      ¦ Regulatory constraints and arguably gas being sent overseas has contributed to an expected shortfall in supply. ¦ According to the Australian Energy Regulator, the most recent gas price in east coast markets was just less than $9 per gigajoule, while in the US it was about $7.62.

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