A proposal for a new $589 million gas import terminal at Kooragang Island may be able to supply up to 80% of the state’s gas needs.
The Newcastle GasDock project has been declared Critical State Significant Infrastructure (CSSI) by the state government.
Acting premier John Barilaro made the announcement alongside NSW Minister for Planning and Public Spaces, Rob Stokes, last week.
Despite being declared ‘critical’, the terminal will still be subject to detailed community consultation and a full and thorough environmental assessment.
“The terminal could be operational by 2022-23 and provide supply for gas-fired power stations, helping to manage energy security during the period in which the Liddell power station is scheduled to close,” Mr Barilaro said.
The project involves the use of a vessel designed to safely store the liquified product and then convert it into a useable gas for industrial, commercial, and residential customers.
It will connect to a new jetty, planned to be built on Port of Newcastle land at Kooragang Island, enabling a connection to the existing East Coast natural gas network.
The company behind the import terminal, Energy Projects & Infrastructure Korea (EPIK), stated its primary goal was to deliver the most competitive infrastructure solution for natural gas imports into NSW.
EPIK’s founder and managing director, Jee Yoon, said he was thrilled with the decision to award CSSI status.
“With CSSI in hand, we are a considerable step closer to delivering the critical infrastructure needed to bring new energy to NSW, providing access to long-term, competitive gas supply to the region, safely powering our homes, driving our industry forward, and keeping prices low for everyone to enjoy,” Mr Yoon said.
Port of Newcastle chief executive, Craig Carmody, praised the state government’s support for regional economic development.
He said the port had been a global trade gateway for more than 220 years and believed the project would introduce new opportunities.
“We are working on a number of projects to diversify the port and support importers and exporters to successfully compete in international markets,” Mr Carmody said. “This creates jobs and ensures more money is invested back into local communities.”
An Environmental Impact Statement will now need to be prepared and put on public exhibition for community feedback.
The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment then has to assess the project’s merits before making a recommendation to Minister Stokes for a final decision.