The SMH reports the government is pressuring oil and gas companies to develop long held gas reserves - Warning on gas leases.
THE Federal Government has thrown down the gauntlet to a group of multinational oil companies to approve the development of the $30 billion Browse liquefied natural gas project off Western Australia soon or risk losing their leases.
Woodside Petroleum, backed by the West Australian Government, has been attempting to commercialise the Browse field as quickly as possible but had faced an uphill battle against the other joint venture partners.
But the case for a new LNG hub in the Kimberley region was bolstered significantly yesterday when the federal and state governments issued a ''use it or lose it'' notice over nine leases held by the Browse joint venture partners, including Woodside (48 per cent), Chevron (16.7 per cent), BP (16.7 per cent), BHP Billiton (9 per cent) and Shell (9 per cent).
They have until April to decide on the preferred option for commercialising the huge gas resource, which has not yet been developed despite having been discovered by Woodside more than 40 years ago.
The joint venture parties have been squabbling over whether to progress a greenfields development at James Price Point in the Kimberley - the preferred option of Woodside and the WA Government - or a brownfields tie-back to the North-West Shelf plant at Karratha that would better protect against gas production decline expected by about 2020.
In granting the renewal of Browse leases for a further 120 days, the federal Resources Minister, Martin Ferguson, said the governments had ''an obligation to unlock the wealth of Australia's vast petroleum resources for the benefit of all Australians''.