Australia’s government has offered the Gorgon Joint Venture (JV) five licences for its biggest gas fields to supply the $50bn Gorgon LNG project.

The Gorgon Project plans to develop the Greater Gorgon gas fields, located between 130km and 200km off the north-west coast of Western Australia.

Mines and Petroleum Minister Norman Moore said that the offer of five production licences would help the Gorgon JV reach a final investment decision.

“These production licences, which cover the enormous Io-Jansz and Gorgon fields, will give the joint venture surety as it works towards finalising the finance for this remarkable project,” Moore said.

“With the recent final environmental approval and these production licences, Gorgon is very close to becoming reality. It is a very exciting time for Western Australia and a significant project that the Department of Mines and Petroleum has actively worked to help establish.”

The Io-Jansz and Gorgon fields contain more than 30 trillion cubic feet of gas, giving the project an estimated 30-year lifespan.

Moore said that the project would boost the state’s development and growth, and help maintain Western Australia’s powerhouse role in the nation’s economy.

“Gorgon’s development and long-term operations will employ thousands and substantially increase Western Australia’s domestic gas supply,” Moore said.

Moore also offered to renew seven of the JV’s retention licences, which cover other gas fields. The plan is to develop these resources in future to maintain production.

Chevron Corporation, with a 50% interest, is the operator of the development on behalf of the Gorgon Venture partners. Other partners are Exxon Mobil Corporation and Royal Dutch Shell, which each hold a 25% interest.