• Project overview

    AGL and APA are proposing to develop the Gas Import Jetty and Pipeline Project (the Project) to supply imported natural gas to south-eastern Australia to meet the needs of industrial, commercial and residential gas customers.

    The Project is proposed to meet the shortfall in gas supply from 2024 that has been predicted by the Australian Energy Market Operator.

    The Project would provide gas supply certainty to Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia, while balancing economic, social and environmental factors.

    The Project is made up of two sets of works: the Gas Import Jetty Works and the Pipeline Works. Here’s how it would operate:

    Gas Import Jetty and Pipeline Project

    Gas Import Jetty Works

    1. A ship known as a floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) would be continuously moored at Berth 2 of Crib Point Jetty. The FSRU, would store liquid natural gas (LNG) and regasify the liquid back into a gaseous form.

    2. An above ground receiving facility, located on land immediately adjacent to the Crib Point Jetty, would receive natural gas transferred through gas piping along the jetty from the FSRU. The Crib Point Receiving Facility would include facilities to inject odorant and nitrogen (as required) into the natural gas to meet Victorian Transmission System (VTS) gas quality specifications.

    Pipeline Works

    1. A 57km high-pressure gas pipeline would transport the natural gas from the Crib Point Receiving Facility to the VTS east of Pakenham.

    2. An above ground delivery facility east of Pakenham would monitor, regulate and deliver the gas into the VTS, for distribution throughout Victoria and south-east Australia.

    Why is a natural gas shortage forecast?

    Natural gas is an important energy source for Australian households, businesses and industries.

    Since the 1960s, Australia’s south-eastern states have received much of their supply from gas sources in the Gippsland and Otway Basins, which sit in Bass Strait off the coast of Victoria. However, it isn’t widely recognised that these gas reserves are now in decline, and production from the region’s ageing gas field projects is falling.

    The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) acknowledged this declining supply in its 2020 Gas Statement of Opportunities.

    “Several gas fields are forecast to cease production sometime between mid-2023 and mid-2024. If production ceases earlier, this could create peak winter day supply gaps in Victoria in 2023.”

    Reduced production from the southern reserves will mean greater reliance on gas from northern reserves in Queensland but their ability to supply the southern states is limited by pipeline infrastructure capacity and cost constraints.  

    Even if the gas could be physically transported to the southern states cost effectively, the bulk of the gas production from Queensland is already committed to LNG export contracts. Other sources of gas production in Western Australia are not directly available to south-eastern customers due to the absence of pipeline infrastructure connecting the east coast network.

    This decline in supply has coincided with increased demand for gas from international markets causing domestic market prices to increase. Combined with declining gas production from southern reserves, this has resulted in higher and more volatile prices for Australian customers, reflecting competition for scarcer domestic gas supplies.

    Why import LNG?

    While Australia is one of the world's largest exporters of LNG, most of this gas comes from Queensland and Western Australia – which is far away from where it’s needed most, in Victoria, New South Wales, and South Australia.

    While gas supply from Queensland can be transported to Victoria, the pipeline system does not have enough capacity to meet Victoria's peak winter demand. Accessing the reserves in Western Australia is even more difficult, given there’s no existing pipeline infrastructure connecting the east coast network and the cost of building one is not commercially viable due to the vast distance involved.

    By using an existing jetty at Crib Point in Western Port to import competitively priced gas directly to the Victorian market, this Project can:

    • help provide gas supply certainty and security for Victorian gas customers, and customers from other states that rely on Victoria’s gas supply

    • place downward pressure on gas prices for residential customers as well as vulnerable industrial and commercial customers, many of whom are large generators of employment

    • provide a flexible source of gas for gas-powered generation so that customers have secure and stable electricity supply as the National Electricity Market transitions to accommodate more renewables. 

     

    Project proponents

    AGL Wholesale Gas Limited and APA Transmission Pty Ltd are the proponents
    for the Gas Import Jetty and Pipeline Project which is the subject of the EES.

  • Timeline

    The following timeline sets out the steps taken so far in the EES process and the steps still to come.

    Steps marked with an asterisk (*) show indicative dates and are subject to change.
     

    Q3 2017 to Q3 2018 | Completed
    Early environmental investigations and conceptual design

    AGL and APA investigated potential environmental impacts, revised the concept design, engaged with the local community to raise awareness of the Project and understand local concerns.

    Q3 2018 | Completed
    Project referred to Commonwealth and Victorian governments

    AGL and APA referred the Project to the Victorian Government under the Environment Effects Act 1978 as two separate projects consisting of the Gas Import Jetty Works and Pipeline Works.

    AGL and APA also referred proposals in separate referrals to the Commonwealth Government under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

    Q4 2018 to Q1 2019 | Completed
    The Victorian Minister for Planning determined that an EES is required for the Project and set scoping requirements

    The Commonwealth Department of Energy and Environment determined that both the Gas Import Jetty Works and Pipeline Works are controlled actions under the EPBC Act. The scoping requirements for the EES include requirements to assess matters of national environmental significance under the EPBC Act.

  • FAQ

    The EES process

    Why is an Environment Effects Statement (EES) required for the Gas Import Jetty and Pipeline Project?

    On 8 October 2018, the Victorian Minister for Planning announced that an EES was required for the Gas Import Jetty and Pipeline Project under the Environment Effects Act 1978, listing the following reasons:

    • There are potential significant environmental effects, including on native vegetation, habitat of threatened terrestrial and aquatic species listed under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 (Vic), as well as risk to some aspects of the ecology in the North Arm of the Western Port Ramsar site.
    • There are potential effects from construction and operation of the gas pipeline on water quality of waterways, and the Western Port Ramsar site and on Aboriginal cultural heritage.

    The Commonwealth Department of Environment and Energy has determined that both the Gas Import Jetty Works and Pipeline Works are controlled actions, requiring assessment under the EPBC Act.

    The EES will serve as the accredited assessment process for the purpose of the EPBC Act under a Bilateral Assessment Agreement between the Commonwealth and Victorian governments.

    After considering the Victorian Minister for Planning’s assessment under the EE Act, the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment will decide whether the Project is approved, approved with conditions or refused under the EPBC Act.

    AGL and APA have worked together to prepare an EES to ensure the potential effects of the Project are rigorously investigated as part of an integrated assessment process, prior to any statutory approval decisions.
     

    How will environmental effects be assessed?

    Under the EE Act 1978, the project proponent, in this case AGL and APA, is responsible for preparing the EES and undertaking the necessary investigations.

    Following a period of public input, in February 2019 the Minister for Planning set the matters to be investigated and documented in the EES in the scoping requirements.

    Comprehensive technical studies have been undertaken by independent technical specialists to assess all potential impacts and identify measures to avoid, minimise and mitigate any potential impacts.

    The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) has convened an inter-agency Technical Reference Group at the request of the Minister for Planning to advise DELWP and the proponent on scoping and adequacy of the EES studies and documentation, as well as co-ordination of the EES process with other statutory processes for the Project. The EES will be made available by the Minister for Planning for public comment as part of the statutory consultation process.

    Key technical studies have undergone peer reviews.

    Who was on the Technical Reference Group?

    The government organisations represented on the Technical Reference group were:

    • DELWP – Impact Assessment
    • DELWP – Port Phillip Region (biodiversity)
    • DELWP – Energy
    • DELWP – Water and Catchments
    • Aboriginal Victoria
    • Heritage Victoria
    • Environment Protection Agency Victoria
    • Worksafe Victoria
    • Energy Safe Victoria
    • Port of Hastings Development Authority
    • Parks Victoria
    • Melbourne Water
    • Port Phillip and Westernport Catchment Management Authority
    • Cardinia Shire Council
    • Casey City Council
    • Mornington Peninsula Shire Council

    Technical Reference Group representatives were supported by internal experts on specific aspects of the EES studies.

    How can the community participate in the remainder of the EES process?

    The Minister for Planning invites comments on the EES, the draft planning scheme amendment, the works approval application and the pipeline licence application. Each submission will be treated as a submission on the EES and all of the related documents.

    Submissions must be made in writing (in online or letter form) and received by 11.59pm on Wednesday 26 August 2020.

    After the exhibition period, there is also the opportunity to be heard by a joint Inquiry and Advisory Committee (IAC). The IAC will review the public submissions, the EES and other exhibited documents. It will review and consider the environmental effects of the Project in accordance with Terms of Reference issued by the Minister for Planning.

    If you would like to be heard at the public hearing, you are required to submit a written submission and indicate that youthey would like to be heard at the hearing.

    Information on the hearing process and timetable will be published as it becomes available at engage.vic.gov.au/crib-point-IAC