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Western Australia's LNG Port of Dampier cleared ahead of Cyclone Veronica

London — The Australian LNG exporting port of Dampier has been placed on high alert and with clearing procedures enacted at berths and anchorages as Cyclone Veronica bears down on northern Western Australia, port authorities said Thursday.

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Dampier Port, where the Woodside-led North West Shelf and Pluto LNG plants are based, was due to be cleared by 6 pm local time (1000 GMT), port agents said.

"Woodside is taking the necessary precautions to safeguard our people and assets," said a spokesperson with the oil and gas major.

The facilities have a combined LNG export capacity of nearly 22 million mt/year, with volumes largely contracted with northeast Asian buyers.

Australia's Bureau of Meteorology said in an advisory: "Veronica has continued to intensify and now is a Severe Category 4 tropical cyclone as it heads towards the Pilbara coast."

"The cyclone is expected to track south to southwest today and intensify to Category 5. While it is possible the cyclone may weaken before reaching the Pilbara coast, a severe impact is likely."

The bureau also warned major flooding was expected along the Pilbara coast over the weekend, with wind gusts to exceed 165 km/hour as the cyclone approaches the coast.

A separate cyclone bearing down on the Gulf of Carpentaria between the Northern Territory and Queensland that is expected to make landfall on Saturday has also prompted the closure of ports at Weipa, Gove and Groote Eylandt, according to port bulletins.

-- Abache Abreu, abache.abreu@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Jonathan Fox, newsdesk@spglobal.com