Why the Scarborough LNG development cannot proceed

Conservation Council of Western Australia and the Australia Institute
by Mark Ogge

Woodside and BHP’s Scarborough to Pluto LNG project is the most polluting fossil fuel project currently proposed in Australia. It would result in annual carbon pollution equal to over 15 new coal fired power stations, and more pollution than the proposed Adani coal mine. The direct pollution from this project would increase WA’s total emissions by almost 5% or 4.4 million tonnes per year.

Approvals for the project have been provided by the WA EPA and Commonwealth agencies without assessment of these impacts, or the damage the project would cause to World Heritage Aboriginal rock art. As environment groups challenge these approvals in court, and shareholders raise concerns about its carbon risks, Woodside and BHP are targeting final investment decision on the $16bn development in 2021.

Western Australia’s new Minister for Climate Action, Amber-Jade Sanderson, faces her first major test as she prepares to give final approvals for the project, including a Greenhouse Gas Abatement Plan and approvals for dredging, dumping and constructing a giant gas pipeline in the Dampier Archipelago – the richest area of marine biodiversity known in Western Australia.

This report details the impacts of the Scarborough to Pluto LNG development and examines Woodside’s management of climate change risks. Recommendations are presented for Minister Sanderson and for Woodside’s Shareholders and Investors.

Full report