Australia approves $42 bln Gorgon LNG project

CANBERRA Tue Aug 25, 2009 8:56pm EDT

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CANBERRA Aug 26 (Reuters) - Australia gave environmental approval on Wednesday for a A$50 billion ($42 billion) liquefied natural gas (LNG) project run by U.S. oil major Chevron Corp (CVX.N), the country's largest-ever resources development.

The government approved the project, to be built on an island nature reserve off west Australia, subject to conditions on managing and protecting local fauna, especially turtles.

Chevron holds a 50 percent stake and is the operator of the project, expected to see annual output of 15 million tonnes, while Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSa.L) and U.S. major Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N) each hold 25 percent.

ExxonMobil this month sealed a deal to sell LNG from its share of the project to PetroChina (601857.SS) in a deal worth about A$50 billion.

For a Factbox on Gorgon, please click on [ID:nSYD428849]

(Reporting by Rob Taylor; Editing by Mark Bendeich) ($1=1.198 Australian Dollar)