AGL Gas at Crib Point, Westernport and APA pipeline to Pakenham

AGL are proposing to install a Floating Storage and Regasification Unit (FSRU) at Crib Point, Westernport and have contracted APA to build a 60km pipeline from there to Pakenham.

The FSRU and pipeline proposals are being assessed independently. This in itself is a concern because the cumulative impact of the damage caused by this one project is being significantly lessened. See our section about the pipeline to understand why this is so bad for our landowners, agricultural land and businesses.

Our government will be allowing AGL to impose an enormous burden on the people and environment of Westernport. It’s a proposal that is totally out of the hands of the people who would be impacted the most – indeed could wear a catastrophic event while AGL gets all the benefit.

AGL

Here are detials the Floating Storage and Regasification Unit and operation being proposed:

  • The FSRU is 300m long x 45m wide
  • It will be permanently moored at Crib Point
  • Foreign LNG ships of the same size deliver to the FSRU to transfer the liquid gas into FSRU
  • The FSRU has an onboard regasification plant to return the LNG back into a gaseous state which will be transferred to a newly constructed pipeline to Pakenham.

Environmental damage

The industrialization of Westernport is based upon an archaic plan dating back to the 1960s. It is time to cease senseless damage to a precious resource so it remains viable for tourism and small businesses that will sustain future generations and maintain recreation and healthy lifestyle for residents and visitors.

It is a unique, fragile and internationally recognised area; an intertidal Ramsar listed wetland that is vital for: birdlife (being a significant area for migratory birds); fish breeding; seagrasses; some of the most southerly mangroves; and many other highly sensitive ecological factors. It is also a designated UNESCO biosphere.

This critical habitat will be affected by the following:

  • The regasification process involves 450 million litres of organism rich seawater sucked in, chlorinated and spewed out dead and 7 degrees colder than the ambient seawater temperature per day
  • Ship emissions including venting of gas build up
  • Noise pollution
  • Light pollution
  • Greater numbers of ships increase the potential for collision
  • Increase potential for marine strike by the foreign owned gas tankers (especially during whale season)
  • Onshore 50m either side of the jetty will be cleared which will destroy some of Woolley’s reserve
  • Government announced last year that they have “streamlined processes” in order for this disastrous proposal to be fast-tracked. That is the worst possible idea for such a complex proposal that affects land and water.

Safety concerns

  • Explosion – BLEVE (boiling liquid evaporative vapor explosion) impacting up to 3km. AGL says this can’t happen. Why then have other FSRUs included it in their assessments and subsequently place their floating regasification units offshore? The other FSRUs that are closer to shore are in very industrialised areas not like Westernport.
  • Gas leaks
  • Situated alongside bushfire prone area
  • Close to township of Crib Point
  • AGL will cite employing best practices as well as the good record of FSRU technology. This does not mean something could go wrong caused by and not limited to – human error, inexperienced staff, tired staff, technical issues, faulty part, poor or inadequate maintenance, living quarters on board.
  • Even if the odds of catastrophe are only 1%, 0.5%, 5%. It’s irrelevant. You don’t put something that poses a threat so enormous near a community and world-renowned habitat.

Economy

  • The FSRU will only provide 40 jobs. These positions require highly specialised skills. It is highly unlikely that locals will have this technical experience. There isn’t yet another FSRU in Australia so training will be overseas.
  • The FSRU will be built overseas, the training is overseas, the ships bringing the LNG to the FSRU will be foreign owned and staffed, and under flags of convenience.
  • The proposal will damage the local economy rather than enhance it. There are many businesses dependent on a healthy, attractive bay. Fishing, diving, kayaking, charter boats and sailing, wildlife watching and tourism.
  • Real estate values and liveability will decline. This will result in less investment locally affecting tradespeople, shops, service industries, sporting events and so on.
  • Reactive measures like AGL’s FSRU that are not developed in accordance with a long-term strategy for the region’s future are not beneficial for the region or the state.

AGL’s Blemished Record

Many factors are involved in planning and deploying such projects, as well as ongoing maintenance to assure that accidents and mishaps do not occur.   AGL’s overconfidence in assuring the community there will be no problems are in stark contrast their many errors and mishaps resulting from poor planning and mismanagement.

Here is a short list of financial penalties that have been handed to AGL in recent years (environmental accidents or management negligence in bold):