The QCLNG site on Curtis Island.
The QCLNG site on Curtis Island. David Sparkes

New environmental laws could jeopardise LNG project: QGC

AMENDMENTS to federal environmental laws could radically impact the QCLNG project on Curtis Island, according to QGC.

In a submission to a Senate committee investigating the proposed changes, QGC said the new laws could mean its existing project could be amended by future approvals.

It said the changes could even mean the currently lawful exploration for gas could become unlawful, and the environmental impact statement process could be delayed by another two years.

"Even though the QCLNG project has already been referred to the Federal Environment Minister and approved, any amendments to the project and any complementary project required to feed the already approved LNG trains will be caught by the bill," QGC said.

"The bill does nothing to protect proponents from the risk that conditions may be imposed in the context of an amended approval, which might necessitate changes to how existing production activities are carried out.

"Supply planning will now need to factor in the likelihood of substantial delays in approval and the impact of a change from adaptive management."

Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke said the proposed amendments would ensure coal seam gas and large coal mining developments must be approved under national environment law if they were likely to have a significant impact on a water resource.

QGC said its Curtis Island project already complied with more than 1500 conditions and 8000 sub-conditions.

The company said the bill should be withdrawn because it had been introduced hurriedly without industry consultation, and without a regulatory impact statement.

"Given the extensive assessment and monitoring framework already in place, the bill is likely to impose unneccessary costs, project delays and complexity with no commensurate environmental benefit," the submission said.

"The bill has several unintended consequences from existing projects, projects currently being assessed and exploration activities, that will impede investment."

Read the full submission here.