The oil and gas company Woodside has officially applied to build and operate a liquefied natural gas plant at James Price Point, north of Broome, a site which has been the target of sustained protests.
The West Australian Environment Minister has already approved the broader development precinct.
Woodside has now put its application before the Environmental Protection Authority.
The authority's chairman Paul Vogel says the EPA will consider whether what Woodside proposes to do inside the precinct fits with what has recently been approved by the Minister.
"The decision making that the Minister made on the strategic proposal sets up the process whereby the foundation proponent can come in and put in a referral," he said.
"Then the EPA has to make a decision about whether that proposal fits with the strategic proposal decision and, if it does, the EPA can declare it to be derived." Dr Vogel says it is unlikely there will be any new or significant information that would require further assessment of the project.
The EPA will accept public comment on the application for seven days.
Woodside's chief executive Peter Coleman says the company remains committed to processing the gas at James Price Point.
Since Shell bought a larger stake in the project, there have been discussions it was pushing the joint venture partners to use its floating LNG technology to process the gas.
Shell says processing the gas offshore on a floating platform would be cheaper and more environmentally friendly.
Mr Coleman says Woodside is locked into making a commercial decision on James Price Point because of a retention lease it signed in 2009.
He says the company is 98 per cent through the process of reaching a decision and has so far spent $1 billion on the process.
It is due to make a final investment decision on the project next year.