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Variation to browse retention lease conditions

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Minister for Resources and Energy, Minister for Tourism

Variation to Browse Retention Lease Conditions 10 April 2012

MARTIN FERGUSON Minister for Resources and Energy

NORMAN MOORE Minister for Mines and Petroleum, WA

The Joint Authority for the Commonwealth -Western Australia Offshore Area has granted a variation to the conditions of the retention leases associated with the Woodside-operated Browse LNG Project.

The Browse Joint Venture is now required to be in a position to apply for a production licence and take a final investment decision during the first half of 2013, instead of mid-2012. The Joint Venture has not sought an extension of the overall term of the retention lease, which remains set to expire in December 2014.

The Joint Authority consists of the Federal Minister for Resources and Energy, the Hon Martin Ferguson AM MP, and the Western Australia Minister for Mines and Petroleum, the Hon Norman Moore MLC.

Minister Ferguson said allowing the Joint Venture additional time to finalise the necessary studies, approvals and project design phase is in keeping with the intent of the original retention lease conditions.

“In granting the variation, Minister Moore and I recognise the complexities of the Browse LNG development and the need to ensure that the Browse Joint Venture has sufficient information to make a sound decision on the commercial viability of the project,” Minister Ferguson said.

“The Browse LNG Project will require a very large capital investment - for comparison, the recently announced Ichthys Project was valued by the proponents at US$34 billion, which is a significant investment by anyone’s standards.

“This decision enables the Joint Venture to address the barriers to commercialising the project while also ensuring the most efficient development of the Browse gas reserves.”

Minister Moore said that it is strongly expected that the Browse Joint Venture will meet this revised timeframe.

“I look forward to the timely and efficient development of the Browse gas reserves and the benefits that this development will bring to the Kimberley, WA and the Australian community as a whole.”

The retention leases cover the Torosa, Calliance and Brecknock gas fields in the Browse Basin, offshore of Western Australia. The fields are estimated to contain around 15.5 trillion cubic feet of gas and 417 million barrels of condensate.

Browse Joint Venture partners Woodside, BHP Billiton, BP, Chevron and Shell are progressing the regulatory approvals for a 12 million tonnes per annum LNG development to be located at the proposed Kimberley LNG Precinct at James Price Point, 60 kilometres north of Broome.

Media Contact:

Minister Ferguson: Kate Sieper 0466 745 615; Minister Moore: Jean Stewart 0409 382 310

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