Energy giant Chevron has confirmed that the Gorgon liquefied natural gas field, one of the world's largest, will be developed off northwest Australia.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd described Gorgon as Australia's biggest-ever resource development which would generate A$300 billion ($368 billion) in export earnings.
Chevron Australia, which owns a half share in the project and is the field operator, said it had agreed with its partners ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell to develop the gas field with a plant built on Barrow Island off Western Australia .
The project appeared certain last month when PetroChina, Asia's largest oil and gas company, agreed to buy 2.25 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas per year from the gas field in a deal worth about A$50 billion. Chevron and its partners last week announced further deals worth A$70 billion to sell Gorgon gas to Japan and South Korea.
The joint venture partners decided to proceed with the project after production licences and a development approval were granted by the state government. «The project will create about 10,000 jobs during the peak construction phase with more than 3500 direct and indirect jobs sustained throughout the life of the project," state Premier Colin Barnett said.
The project's first phase of development is estimated to cost about A$43 billion.
Work will begin immediately on Barrow Island, and the first gas is expected to be delivered in 2014.
Chevron Australia managing director Roy Krzywosinski said the project would provide an economic boost over the next 40 years.
«We anticipate A$33 billion will be spent on goods and services with flow-on effects cascading through the Western Australian economy," he said.
ExxonMobil and Shell each hold a 25 per cent stake.