Split poses James Price Point threat

A SPLIT between two Aboriginal groups who have a joint native title claim over the land covering James Price Point in Western Australia has plunged plans for an LNG precinct there into doubt.
Split poses James Price Point threat Split poses James Price Point threat Split poses James Price Point threat Split poses James Price Point threat Split poses James Price Point threat

The gas hub plan is already under threat, with speculation mounting that Shell is instead pushing to have gas from the Browse field developed using its floating LNG technology.

Understandably, the WA government is strongly pushing for the LNG precinct plan to go ahead. If the gas is processed offshore, it risks losing out on billions in royalties.

WA Premier Colin Barnett also believes the hub will be needed because there is much more gas in the region besides Browse.

For the past 15 years, the Jabirr Jabirr and the Goolarabooloo people have had joint native title claim over the gas hub land to the north of Broome, in WA's pristine Kimberley region.

Two years ago they signed a deal to allow Woodside and the WA government to build the LNG precinct there.

However, the Goolarabooloo families are opposed to the gas hub plan.

A website linked to the Goolarabooloo calls the LNG precinct a "frightening prospect".

The two groups have reportedly agreed to split up the claim.

It is not clear what this means for the land deal already struck.

Barnett said the WA government remained committed to honouring its share of the Browse LNG Precinct Project Agreement it signed with the Goolarabooloo and Jabirr Jabirr representatives last June.

"To have the Browse gas project at James Price Point in the Kimberley will mean enormous benefits for the next 20 to 30 years for Aboriginal people to the value of something like $1.5 billion.

"That will include jobs, training, housing, improved health care and better education and all of that is made possible by this project.

"It would be a tragedy if this economic opportunity was lost to the Kimberley."

Barnett said one of the problems in the Kimberley was a high dependency on welfare and the project offered a way to break that cycle.

First published in EnergyNewsBulletin.net on Friday.

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