Wesfarmers and Perdaman advance WA petrochemical plans for Burrup Peninsula

Peter Milne, The West Australian
Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Two proposed petrochemical developments on the Burrup Peninsula — Wesfarmers’ methanol plant and Perdaman’s urea plant — have taken a step forward today with separate referrals to the State’s environmental watchdog.

Wesfarmers, together with Coogee Chemicals and Mitsubishi, is conducting a pre-feasibility study to build a 1.8 million tonne-a-year methanol plant estimated to cost about $US1 billion ($1.4 billion).

Perdaman proposes to build a 2mtpa urea plant at a cost of about $US3.3 billion-plus ($4.6 billion). Last month Perdaman chairman Vikas Rambal said that, subject to approvals, construction of the urea plant would start in the first quarter of 2020.

The State Government has launched the process for World Heritage listing of the Burrup peninsula that has more than one million rock engravings.

A Senate inquiry concluded in March that the protection of the engravings was crucial for future generations because of their vast cultural and historical importance.

Last month Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation chief executive Peter Jeffries said he was concerned about the effect on the rock art of industry emissions from the Burrup. The MAC wants new industry to be located at the Maitland Industrial Area about 25km south-west of the Burrup.

Both referrals are open for public comment for seven days.

Woodside’s North West Shelf LNG plant was the first significant industry on the Burrup peninsula followed by the Pluto LNG plant.

Norway’s Yara has two plants in the area producing 850,000 tonnes of liquid ammonia a year for fertiliser and 330,000tpa of technical ammonium nitrate for explosives.