400+ workers shut down LNG site, company warns for smoky flaring
THEY say where there's smoke there's fire, but gas giant Shell is hopeful that won't be the case when more than 400 workers don the orange and silver for QCLNG's first shutdown.
The shut down work starts this Friday and is expected to cause increased flaring from the Curtis Island gas exporting site.
Shell wants a major change to its environmental conditions to allow for more smoky flaring, but the application is yet to be approved.
The application was enough to anger conservationists and cause division within the Gladstone Regional Council.
But a Shell spokesperson said it continued to work closely with the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, the office sifting through the application.
Describing it as "critical" work for the ongoing safe operation of the plant, Shell said it would minimise smoky flaring.
"QGC will undertake the proposed shut down activities in accordance with its requirements set out under the EA and related environmental management plans," a Shell spokesperson said.
"We will continue to work hard to minimise smoky flaring and monitor any visible smoke emissions to assist DEHP with the assessment of the EA amendment."
The proposed changes, which Shell said would bring them into line with conditions neighbouring projects GLNG and APLNG have, were largely opposed by environmental groups within the region.
The shutdown created 450 jobs and acting Gladstone Region Mayor Chris Trevor said 96% employed are locals.
"The specialist workers who were from out of town are being housed in our CBD too ... that's going to stimulate local business in what I call our industrial tourism, when shut down workers come to town."
The council wants the department to facilitate an agreement between the council and both vertical flaring Curtis Island LNG proponents to contribute to a Gladstone region community-based environmental initiatives fund managed by the council. The council wants it to be funded at a rate of $20,000 per hour, per proponent of smoky flaring in excess of seven hours each year.