Santos environmental authority amendment application (APP0059373)

Project overview

Application assessment completed

Proponent (applicant)

  • Santos GLNG Pty Ltd
  • Total GLNG Australia
  • PAPL (Downstream) Pty Limited
  • KGLNG Liquefaction Pty Ltd

Application type

  • Existing EA amendment application

Application received

  • 28 August 2020

Primary activity

  • Petroleum and gas


  • Curtis Island, Gladstone

Local government area

  • Gladstone Regional Council

Application summary

The previous environmental authority authorised 5 minutes of black smoke during any two-hour period for certain flaring events.

The amendment application sought a change to the circumstances, frequency and limits of visible smoke allowed. This included an additional 30–90 minutes of visible smoke to be produced during daylight hours per event, up to 7 hours a year and 14 events per year.

Decision summary

The following material and legislation was considered as part of the decision-making process:

  • The Environmental Protection Act 1994, relevant guidelines and subordinate legislation including:
    • Environmental Protection Regulation 2019;
    • Environmental Protection (Air) Policy 2019;
  • The documents submitted by Santos GLNG Pty Ltd (Santos) including responses to information requests by the department.
  • Advice provided by the department’s specialist Air Quality Sciences team
  • Current conditions of the environmental authority
  • Conditions of neighbouring liquified natural gas (LNG) facilities
  • Environmental Audit of Flaring at Santos Gladstone Liquified Natural Gas Plant (report by HRL Technology Group, Version 4)

All public submissions provided to the department during the submission period

The following is a summary of the department’s assessment of the amendment application in relation to the environmental impacts of the requested amendments.

Impact on air quality and community health

It is considered that the qualities of the air environment relevant to the environmental values of air will be protected. This is based on the results of the air quality modelling which Santos undertook as part of the application process. The modelling indicates that all contaminant releases, including consideration of cumulative impacts, are well below the air quality objectives in the Environmental Protection (Air) Policy 2019 and other relevant guidelines. The modelling considered worst case scenarios in relation to the release of smoke.

Visual nuisance associated with release of smoke

The application sought an increase in authorised visible smoke to 7 hours of visual smoke per year. The amendment requires Santos to carefully plan start-up/shutdown events and maintenance during the evening to ensure that visual nuisance to the Gladstone community is minimised. Furthermore the conditions of the amended environmental authority sets consistent expectations regarding when, and how long, flaring can occur outside of normal operating conditions.

The department has also set strict monitoring conditions to ensure that Santos records the release of visible smoke to ensure  they can demonstrate compliance with its EA conditions.


The process for the assessment of this project was:

  1. Application stage
    EA application (or amendment application) submitted to department.
  2. Public notification stage
    Public was able to view the EA application (or amendment application) and provide feedback.
  3. Information request stage
    Department requested further information from applicant. Applicant provided additional information.
  4. Decision stage
    Department decided whether to approve EA application (or amendment application).
  5. Decision approved with conditions
    Department has notified proponent and those who provided submissions.

Key dates summary

  • 26 August 2020—Application received by department.
  • 16 December 2020—The department requested further information from applicant.
  • 19 November to 17 December 2020—Public notification stage. Submissions have now closed.
  • 19 February 2021—Applicant responded to information request
  • 26 March 2021—Decision date
  • 6 April 2021—Notification of decision outcome sent to proponent and submitters.
  • 6 April 2021 to 20 April 2021—Those who made a submission on or before submission closing date, may, if unsatisfied with decision, request an internal review of the decision
  • 20 April 2021—Closing date for internal review request.

Further information

  • For enquiries relating to this EA amendment submit an online enquiry using the contact us form on the department’s website or contact the department on 1300 130 372 (Option 4).

Related resources