Woodside closes hasty investment deal for Scarborough mega gas mine – while still struggling for customers

Jan 19 2022 - Woodside’s scramble to sell 49 per cent stake in the Pluto LNG Train 2 processing facility to Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) is a grossly untenable investment as the energy provider struggles to secure further customer offtake for the project, says Greenpeace Australia Pacific.

Processing toxic gas from the Scarborough deep sea gas-drilling project off WA’s biodiverse-rish Pilbara coast for the next 30 years, the expanded facility will be part of Woodside’s Burrup Hub development, one of Australia’s most climate polluting projects ever proposed.

“As the world continues to decarbonise and turn their back on fossil fuel projects, this investment by Global Infrastructure Partners in one of the biggest carbon bombs Australia will ever know is grossly untenable and makes no financial sense,” said Kate Smolski, Program Director for Greenpeace Australia Pacific.

“Woodside claims there’s a huge international market for their toxic gas around the world, but where is their long list of customers? For a fossil fuel source of this size, where is the demand? Their current customer offtake doesn’t match with the scale of the project whatsoever. The numbers simply don’t add up.

“As countries around the world pledge their commitment to net zero and renewable energy, GIP is risking their stakeholders’ coffers with a deal on infrastructure that will ultimately end up a doomed stranded asset, costing the taxpayers billions in decommissioning.”

The deal is being facilitated by a $4.8billion syndicated loan from financial institutions including National Australia Bank, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group and Westpac, who were slammed this week by Market Forces for their participation in the investment, which is at odds with the banks’ professed net zero commitments.

Announcing FID towards the end of last year, the Scarborough Gas project, which is set to be the first stage in Australia’s most climate polluting development ever proposed, still has a number of regulatory hurdles to clear, including an uncertain approvals process and an unresolved legal challenge to the primary approvals process in the WA Supreme Court.

A direct threat to some of Australia’s most extraordinary marine life, the Scarborough development involves blasting and dredging kilometers of seabed, driving giant concrete piles into the ocean floor and dumping millions of tons of crushed coral and rock within the Dampier Archipelago – the richest area of marine biodiversity in Western Australia – home to thousands of species of whales, sharks, fish, turtles and corals.

For more information or to request an interview contact Stephen Milton on 0423584423 or [email protected]