On 11 March 2106 Santos (NT) P/L submitted a works approval application to Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) to upgrade its Orbost Gas Plant at 73 Ewing Marsh Road, Newmerella to process the gas stream from the Sole offshore gas field.
Proposed upgrades to the existing Orbost Gas Plant are based on producing a design level of 68 TJ/day of sales gas from the Sole well. This proposal forms part of the larger Sole Development Project. The major proposed changes to the facility include the installation of a sulfur recovery unit and thermal oxidiser, as well as relocation of the safety flare.
A works approval is required from EPA for any gas refining activities that have the potential for significant environmental impacts.
The works approval application was advertised for public comment in the Herald Sun and Snowy River Mail on 16 March 2016. The closing date for public submissions to EPA was 6 April. A drop-in information session was held by Santos (NT) on 22 March at Orbost Bowls Club to answer community questions about the proposal.
EPA received two submissions from the public. They raised concerns regarding flood risks and possible contamination of the adjacent waterway (Corringle Creek).
The application was referred to East Gippsland Shire Council (EGSC), Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority (EGCMA), WorkSafe Victoria, Country Fire Authority (CFA) and East Gippsland Water (EGW) for assessment and comment.
EPA decision on the works approval application
EPA has comprehensively examined the application in line with the Environment Protection Act, relevant state environment protection policies and guidelines. The assessment focused on the key environmental issues, including air and noise emissions management, as well as stormwater and waste management. The assessment also considered other possible issues, such as land and groundwater contamination, and greenhouse gas emissions.
EPA has determined that the environmental risk posed by this proposal is considered acceptable and complies with the relevant state environment protection policies and guidelines. A works approval with conditions has been issued. An amendment of the existing licence would be required prior to operation.
To speak to someone about the works approval, please contact EPA’s Development Assessment Unit on 1300 372 842 (1300 EPA VIC).