Arrow CSG's $15 billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant situated at Gladstone has overcome a key regulatory hurdle by obtaining approval from Queensland Coordinator-General Barry Broe.

The project under consideration will see the construction of a pipeline tunnel to Curtis Island from the mainland, an LNG processing plant with capacity of up to 18 million tonnes of LNG a year, LNG and LPG storage and loading lines, an LNG loading facility and jetties, as well as provisional construction facilities.

Jeff Seeney, Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning, said construction of the plant will fortify the status of Curtis Island and Gladstone as a key LNG hub in the Pacific and provide a major boost to employment in the area.

“Should Arrow proceed, it will be the fourth LNG plant on Curtis Island, with a peak workforce of about 3,500 construction jobs and about 450 operational jobs for stage one, increasing to 600 on the completion of stage two,” he said.  “The three LNG plants currently under construction on Curtis Island provided thousands of jobs during the construction phase and will provide substantial income to the state through royalties.”

“There are more than 7,600 tradespeople out of a total of 10,148 people working on the Curtis Island projects.”

If the project proceeds, it will lift investment in Queensland LNG to around $75 billion, and serve as a major shot in the arm for the state’s resources sector, particularly given the waning fortunes of key commodities such as coal.

In evaluating and issuing approval for the project, the Coordinator-General considered issues including management of hazardous operations, project transport, impacts on water quality and local ecology, and potential social impacts such as increased costs for housing and the potential strain on social services.

The project now needs final approval from the federal government within the next 30 days in order to proceed. The federal government’s evaluation will include the potential impact of the project on the Greater Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, and related environmental issues.

The plant must also obtain the financial approval of company owners Shell and PetroChina, which still remains uncertain.