Woodside (ASX:WPL) share price climbs despite damning conservation report

A report on the Scarborough project’s environmental and cultural impacts has called out Woodside Petroleum.

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Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX: WPL) shares finished up today despite the Conservation Council of Western Australia (CCWA) releasing its findings on the company’s Scarborough project.

By today’s market close, the Woodside share price was trading at $23.85 – up by 3.11% for the day.

Scarborough is a joint project between Woodside Petroleum and BHP Group Ltd (ASX: BHP). It’s set to target a liquified natural gas (LNG) resource off the coast of Western Australia. Woodside Petroleum is seeking a final investment decision on the project in the second half of 2021.

The CCWA states the project will have major impacts on WA’s environment and World Heritage sites. It has begun WA Supreme Court action to overturn the approvals given to the companies to build the project.

Let’s look at the CCWA’s report into the project’s impacts.

The Scarborough project’s potential impacts

According to the CCWA, the Scarborough project will produce as much greenhouse gas as 15 new coal fired power stations. It will also increase WA’s carbon emissions by almost 5%.

The Scarborough project has received approvals from both the Western Australian Environmental Protection Authority and the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment.

Woodside Petroleum has previously stated LNG has an important role in minimising Australia’s future greenhouse gas emissions. The company has also set up a carbon offset project which it says has already created more than 850,000 tonnes of carbon offsets.

The CCWA found these offsets only target a portion of the project’s future carbon emissions and aren’t as effective as the company had hoped.

Additionally, the CCWA stated WA’s LNG industry is producing damaging acids within the globally significant Indigenous heritage site, the petroglyphs of Murujuga on the Burrup Peninsula.

Through freedom of information, the CCWA retrieved Department of Environment and Energy notes stating the department recognised that noxious emissions from LNG production may impact the petroglyphs by speeding up their weathering.

But according to the Woodside Petroleum website, there is no peer-reviewed evidence finding LNG production has any effect on rock art on the Burrup Peninsula.

Finally, the CCWA reported the Scarborough project’s dredging needs, dumping operations, and shipping channels will negatively impact WA’s marine diversity.

Woodside Petroleum is yet to respond to the CCWA’s report.

Woodside Petroleum share price snapshot

Today’s gains have helped boost the year-to-date gains for the Woodside share price. Currently, the company’s shares are trading 4.88% higher than they were at the start of 2021. They’ve also gained 1.49% since this time last year.

The company has a market capitalisation of around $23 billion, with approximately 963 million shares outstanding.

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Motley Fool contributor Brooke Cooper has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia’s parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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