ESSO Australia has applied for a development licence to build three power generators on Bayview Road, Hastings.
According to the application, production of LPG is declining and with it the levels of excess ethane being produced. Esso anticipates the power generation plants would only be required until 2033.
The energy giant’s application to the Environment Protection Authority states the three generators will be built on Bayview Rd, Hastings, next to the Esso liquid petroleum gas processing plant and using the excess ethane gas by-product of the LPG manufacturing process to fuel the generators.
The EPA says it will assess the application based on the potential impacts to the local environment and community including noise, water and air quality as well as what ongoing monitoring would be required to ensure all necessary criteria continue to be met, if the application is successful.
But some residents are concerned what impact the generators would have on air quality, and are asking for more information on Esso’s plans to mitigate and monitor the release of chemicals.
A Crib Point resident said on some days when there is a northerly wind, he can sometimes smell a ‘burning tyre’ odour from Esso’s LPG plant.
“My main concern is air quality, so I would advise people to read this thoroughly to find out what’s happening,” he said.
“There is only 20 days left to put in a submission, so there isn’t much time.”
Pollutants expected to be nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, Particulate matter, sulphur dioxide and volatile compounds.
The Long Island Point Fractionation Plant Oil currently operates for processing natural gas liquids ethane, propane and butane to LPG for distribution locally and internationally.
The ethane by-product of this process has, for many years, been sent through a pipeline to a customer in Altona for plastics manufacture. However, if the customer is unable to accept the ethane, in some circumstances this can lead to Esso curtailing natural gas supply to reduce the production of these gas liquids, which in turn would impact the supply of natural gas to Victoria.
According to the application, generating power from ethane would enable Esso to safely and reliably utilise undersubscribed ethane, thus avoiding the need to flare this gas at Long Island Point or reduce natural gas production for the south east Australian gas market.
An Esso spokesperson said that to improve community and environmental outcomes, it had identified an alternative for managing excess ethane which would benefit the community and have minimal impact.
To find out more and to have your opportunity to contribute, go to epa.vic.gov.au/esso-pty-ltd
Public submissions will be accepted until 13 April, 2022.