Varanus Island

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Varanus Island
Location Indian Ocean, off the coast of Western Australia
Coordinates 20°39′3″S 115°34′27″E / 20.65083°S 115.57417°E / -20.65083; 115.57417Coordinates: 20°39′3″S 115°34′27″E / 20.65083°S 115.57417°E / -20.65083; 115.57417
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)
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. It is located at 20°39′3″S 115°34′27″E / 20.65083°S 115.57417°E / -20.65083; 115.57417.[1][2][3]


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[4] which is now known as the Varanus Island Processing Hub and owned by Quadrant Energy.[5]


The island is part of the Lowendal Islands Important Bird Area (IBA), identified as such by BirdLife International because of its importance as a breeding site for seabirds.[6] The presence of oil and gas field operations appear to not have significantly affected local birdlife [7]

2008 gas crisis[edit]

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.[8] 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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Gazetteer of Australia (1996). Belconnen, ACT: Australian Surveying and Land Information Group.
  2. ^ "Veranus Island". Gazetteer of Australia online. Geoscience Australia, Australian Government. 
  3. ^ map of island
  4. ^ Kinhill Engineers. (1987)Harriet oilfield development : Varanus Island LPG extration plant : notice of intent Victoria Park, W.A. : Kinhill Engineers ( Bond Corporation Pty. Ltd. (Petroleum Division) )
  5. ^ Apache Corporation - Apache Reports Pipeline Rupture and Fire at Varanus Island Processing Hub Offshore Western Australia
  6. ^ "IBA: Lowendal Islands". Birdata. Birds Australia. Retrieved 2011-08-08. 
  7. ^ Wildman Andy. (2002) Nesting with flare.(Three year study of sea birds on the Lowendal Islands shows little ill-effects from the Harriet and East Spar oil and gas fields on Varanus Island, and has provided useful data for Apache Energy in their management of the area). Wildlife Australia, Autumn 2002, p. 38-41
  8. ^ Hodge, Karen (2008-06-04). "Gas plant explosion exposes State's vulnerability". The West Australian. Archived from the original on 2008-06-05. Retrieved 2008-06-30. 

External links[edit]