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Timor Sea gas projects granted major project status.



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Media Release The Hon Ian Macfarlane, MP

29 January 2007

TIMOR SEA GAS PROJECTS GRANTED MAJOR PROJECT STATUS Australian Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane today granted Major Project Facilitation (MPF) status to speed development of two major Timor Sea gas projects.

The Timor Sea LNG Project and the Tassie Shoal Methanol Project involve development of gas accumulations in the region, including the Epenarra gas discovery in the exploration permit area awarded in 2004 to Methanol Australia Limited, now known as MEO Australia Limited.

“These projects will further develop Australia's valuable petroleum resources and serve the rapidly expanding markets in the Asia Pacific region," Mr Macfarlane said.

"Australia also has lower sovereign risk and is highly competitive compared with other LNG-producing countries.

"MEO Australia Limited proposes to use advanced engineering concepts including the world's first offshore LNG production and loading facility. The LNG and methanol production facilities could also act as a hub to encourage the development of stranded gas discoveries in adjoining fields."

Mr Macfarlane said the LNG project and the adjoining methanol project would share common infrastructure on Tassie Shoal, a shallow area in the Bonaparte Basin, about 275 km north of Darwin.

"The new offshore facilities are expected to produce about 3 million tonnes of LNG a year and about 5,000 tonnes of methanol a day," Mr Macfarlane said.

"As well as providing a boost to Australia’s exports, the projects offer considerable scope for economic benefits to Darwin.

"Each project will generate approximately 500 local jobs during the construction phase. Both are expected to create approximately 110 ongoing jobs when they are operational."

Mr Macfarlane said MPF status meant the Australian Government's inward investment agency, Invest Australia, would work with MEO Australia Limited to progress the projects through the approvals process and identify relevant government programs that may assist the projects.

For further information contact Mark Durrant, General Manager, Resource Industries Branch, Invest Australia on 0403 137 481 or 02 6213 7560.

Media contact: Claire Wilkinson (02) 6277 7580 or 0419 840452