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Varanus Island
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Varanus Island off Western Australia
Geography
Location Indian Ocean, off the coast of Western Australia
Archipelago Lowendal Islands
Area 0.83 km2 (0.32 sq mi)
Length 2.5 km (1.55 mi)
Width 0.6 km (0.37 mi)
Administration
Australia
State Western Australia

Varanus Island is the largest of the Lowendal Islands, an archipelago off the north west coast of Western Australia, near Karratha in the Pilbara region. The island is approximately 59 kilometres (37 mi) from the mainland coast. It is located at 20°39′3″S 115°34′27″E / 20.65083°S 115.57417°E / -20.65083; 115.57417.

Facilities

It has facilities for piping oil and gas from various locations within the Harriet and East Spar oilfield, that was developed by the Bond Corporation in 1987, that is now known as the Varanus Island Processing Hub and owned by Santos Limited.

Environment

The island is part of the Lowendal Islands Important Bird Area, identified as such by BirdLife International because of its importance as a breeding site for seabirds. The presence of oil and gas field operations appear to not have significantly affected local birdlife.

2008 gas crisis

See also: 2008 Western Australian gas crisis

On 3 June 2008, Apache Energy's primary gas pipeline ruptured, causing an explosion. The plant was shut down, and all personnel on the island were airlifted out. The shutdown reduced Western Australia's gas supply by around a third, triggering an energy crisis. Apache Energy stated that it would take two to three months until the plant would operate at even half capacity.

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