AGL Gas Fact Sheet
What is the FSRU?
AGL’s proposal is to operate a Floating Storage and Regasification Unit (FSRU) – a giant gas tanker permanently moored at the end of a jetty, which would receive liquefied natural gas (LNG) shipments from interstate or overseas, store it, and then convert it into gas for distribution via a new pipeline that runs through high value agricultural land.
How polluting is the project?
AGL’s dirty gas plan will increase Victoria’s climate pollution. It will:
- Pump 130-160 petajoules of gas per year into Victoria, almost doubling the amount of gas flowing into the state, likely reversing the shift of industry and households away from gas and weakening the move to renewable energy;
- Involve importing gas produced by fracking, which has much higher local environmental impacts in the places where the fracking occurs; and
- Increase the carbon pollution of gas consumption, because the gas being brought into Victoria will have been liquefied, transported long distances, re-gasified and then stored, with each step consuming energy and adding to fugitive emissions. Meaning this gas is 20 percent more polluting than gas sourced from Victoria.
What about gas prices?
The project will likely lead to higher, not lower gas prices for Victorians. This view is supported by Macquarie Bank’s thorough analysis of the price impacts of gas import terminals.. In short Macquarie Bank concludes: “We believe that any import terminal will not lower prices on the East Coast of Australia, and could potentially set a higher floor price.”1
What About a Gas Shortage ?
There is not a gas shortage in Australia, there is a problem with the gas market. The East coast of Australia currently consumes 700 petajoules of gas a year while the 1500 petajoules is exported overseas from a massive terminal in Gladstone, Queensland. There are far better policy solutions to this issue such as controls on exports or a reservation policy. Moreover gas is still a polluting and dangerous fuel that Australia needs to transition away from. There is already a transition underway in Victoria, our gas use has declined by 20% in the last 7 years. Governments should invest in supporting households and businesses to continue to switch away from gas and towards electricity powered by clean, renewable energy and storage.
What about threatened species in Westernport
Westernport Bay is an internationally listed ecosystem, recognised under the Ramsar Convention as a unique tidal bay and wetland with important ecological values.
It is home to a number of threatened species listed under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act (Vic) 1988 and the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (Cth) 1999 such as Southern Right Whale; Humpback Whale; Far Eastern Curlew; Curlew Sandpiper; Fairy Tern; Orange-bellied Parrot; Swift Parrot; Great White Shark; Mangrove Goby; Australian Grayling; Two species Ghost Shrimp, southern brown bandicoot and coastal saltmarsh.
We have deep concerns over the threats to the habitat and welfare of these species caused by the construction and operation of the FSRU and pipeline.
What about marine impacts?
There are concerning marine impact associated with this project. These include:
- The discharge of up to 450,000,000 litres per day of cold sea water into Westernport Bay;
- The discharge of up to 450,000,000 litres per day of chlorinated water into Westernport Bay;
- The risk to the ecosystem and small marine life from becoming sucked into the heat exchanger;
- The possibility of the introduction of marine pests;
- The impact on two species of Ghost Shrimp, both of which are considered likely to be present in low numbers in suitable habitat, about which there is extremely limited knowledge;
- The significant increase in shipping through Western Port Bay, increasing the incidences of vessel strikes with marine mammals and marine noise.
- The potential for fuel spills and the impact this may have on marine life. VNPA has undertaken extensive shipping oil spill modelling which shows the complexities and trends in movement in the Bay in addition to the impacts on birds, mangroves, and seagrass.
What does the local community think?
There is strong local community opposition to the project. A local campaign to defend the bay from AGL’s project is entering its third year. Save Westernport (https://www.savewesternport.org/ and the community in Westernport Bay are determined to protect the Bay’s spectacular natural values and threatened species. They have been fighting fossil fuel and port development projects in the area for many years. There are a number of different groups involved including; Westernport & Peninsula Protection Council, Blue Wedges, Phillip Island Conservation Society and Preserve Western Port Action Group as well as farmers along the route of the pipeline.
Tourism job numbers:
Mornington Peninsula Jobs: 9000
GRP: $849 million Phillip Island
GRP: $407 m – this is 40% of local economy. Highest of any other region in Vic. These two regions together are Victoria’s biggest tourism employers.
What’s the timeframe?
AGL has presented their Environment Effects Statement to Minister Wynne. You can read it here.
Public Comments are open until August 26 2020, then there will be a public Hearing. The Minister will make a decision soon.
Now is our chance to comment on the project by making a submission. AGL is Australia’s biggest climate polluter.
They are the largest polluter by more than twice the second largest who is another energy company called EnergyAustralia.
We cannot let this project go ahead!
What can I do?
– > Make A Submission !You can make a submission about the AGL Crib Point proposal using the online form on the EngageVic website here.
– > Are you a shareholder? Come to their AGM
– > Sign up to attend the rally at their AGM
– > Donate!
More Concerns about AGL gas terminal & APA pipeline:
If approved , the AGL proposal would have a multitude of risks and potentially disastrous impacts that should prove it to be entirely unjustifiable.
- The construction of the 60 km pipeline to Pakenham, with its 30m wide easement that would rip through wilderness areas including Warrangine Park within the protected Ramsar wetlands, and up to 100 private properties in Melbourne’s productive food growing areas.
- The constant risk of leak, explosion, spill, or accident from human error or equipment failure.
- Threat of bushfire providing a potential ignition source.
- Disturbance to nocturnal wildlife from permanent Industrial lighting at the facility.
- Noise from the FSRU which AGL’s own reports say would be in excess of safe levels determined by the EPA.
- Dust, vibration, and particularly air emissions from the FSRU, which AGL’s reports also say would be in excess of EPA safe levels.
- Decrease to local property values, or difficulty insuring properties near the facility.
- Damage to the growing economy and reputation of the Peninsula as “clean, green” food producing area and destination, compromise local wineries and businesses like the Flinders Aquaculture Reserve.
- The disturbance and release into the water column of contaminated soils from previous industry at the jetty site, including dangerous PFAS chemicals and Potential Acid sulphite soils, described in AGL reports.
- Danger of moorings breaking in heavy weather, causing collision with United Petrol tanker the Marie Boyle, which regularly docks at Crib Point jetty, or with LNG tankers supplying the FSRU. Westernport has notoriously shallow waters and fast moving tides.
- Cold water, chlorination and wash from increased wash of shipping could slow or stop the recent regeneration of seagrasses and mangrove beds, without which, sediments would increasingly scour the bay, further undermining and destabilising mangrove beds.
- The benefit of Mangroves as an essential Carbon sink can be evaluated in direct monetary terms, known as BLUE CARBON. As a carbon sink, Mangroves are unsurpassed and are even more effective at safely storing carbon than even rainforests. We should be doing EVERYTHING we can to protect and encourage mangroves in Westernport Bay. Nowhere on Earth are they able to grow this far south. They are a tropical species that can only grow in Westernport due to its shallow waters and warmer temperatures .
- Mangroves are an essential species in the bay, providing roosting and foraging opportunities for several species of endangered migratory birds that should be protected by the bay’sasdf Ramsar status. Mangroves prevent erosion and coastal inundation, and are our best defence against rising sea levels and resulting coastal inundation and erosion. They also filter toxic run-off from agricultural chemicals and improve water quality and clarity.
- Dumping of 450 million litres of chilled, chlorinated wastewater 7 degrees colder into Westernport Bay every day the Floating Storage Regasification Unit processes gas
- Perpetuating gas use and discouraging urgently needed investment and uptake of renewable energy alternatives
- Increased fugitive methane and other polluting air emissions, carbondioxide and particulate pollution
- Disruption of Boon Wurrung cultural heritage sites, registered and unlisted, Indigenous artifacts and shell middens
- New gas pipeline and 30m wide easement disrupting the region’s market gardens that contribute to Melbourne’s food bowl and enable lower ‘food miles’ for the city
- Disruption to access of private properties along the proposed route and negatively impacting property prices
- Industrial light spill, noise and vibration, above the water and below. Noise of visiting tankers and tugs combined with constant operation of FSRU would exceed EPA safe levels
- Transport, storage, use, handling, disposal of gas, dangerous goods and toxic, flammable odorising gas additive called Mercaptan near a residential community and bushfire zone
- Negative Economic, Social, Psychological and Health Impacts to community, and to the region’s reputation
- Hazard to Life from flammable LNG, and associated risk of BLEVE- Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapour Explosion
- Change in Visual Appearance and inevitable loss of Amenity due to large imposing new industrial facilities, visible from Phillip Island and all across Westernport Bay
- Estimated 40% rise in commercial shipping traffic, with unknown impacts of associated noise on all marine life.
- Increased collision risk with migratory humpback & resident populations of marine mammals incl. burrunan Dolphin pods
- Turbidity and silt from shipping wake, causing dieback & loss of seagrass, a species critical to healthy marine ecosystems
- Introduction of invasive marine pests from international LNG carriers, threat to marine life & Flinders Aquaculture Reserve
- Increased industrial development restricting economic and tourism opportunities in Westernport & Mornington Peninsula
- Dredging (called ‘levelling’) disrupting water movements & seabed, potential for sediment plume & coastal inundation
- Disposal of contaminated PFAS, toxic heavy metal and acid sulfate soils from previous industry in Dredge Spoil materials
- Protected species of Westernport’s marine life, flora and fauna: Ghost Shrimp, Humpback Whales, Silverheaded Flying Fox, Little Penguins, Brown face Bandicoot, Migratory birds: Fairy Tern, Far Eastern Curlew, and rare Spider Orchid
- Cumulative Impacts over time include loss of stabilising terrestrial ecology, risk of erosion, coastal inundation, loss of onshore fauna and flora habitats, critically endangered Coastal Saltmarsh communities, ecosystems & vegetation.
- Loss of Silver Mangroves due to cold water in FSRU heat exchange, a tropical species with limitless potential for carbon biosequestration, stores more carbon than rainforest
- FSRU would be constant an Ignition source of Bushfire in a known hazardous zone, with nearby Primary School, residential communities and Cerberus Naval Base
STOP AGL —
NO GAS FACTORY IN WESTERNPORT BAY!
- 1 Macquarie Wealth Management, East Coast Gas and Infrastructure 6 July 2018