Sur­plus gas sup­plies raised

Pilbara News - - News - Peter Klinger

Wood­side Pe­tro­leum has made clear for the first time it is talk­ing to the Gor­gon project part­ners about di­vert­ing sur­plus gas to keep the North West Shelf at full LNG pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity be­yond the end of this decade.

Wood­side has iden­ti­fied up to eight tril­lion cu­bic feet of gas in the Chevron-run Greater Gor­gon area as “un­al­lo­cated vol­umes”, along with 3.5tcf in the Clio-Acme fields (part of Chevron’s greater Wheat­stone area) and 4tcf in an­other suite of Chevron-op­er­ated fields, in­clud­ing Geryon and Orthrus.

Chevron is one of the NWS part­ners, as are its main Gor­gon in­vestors Royal Dutch Shell and ExxonMo­bil.

The five-train NWS at Kar­ratha, which is Aus­tralia’s big­gest LNG op­er­a­tion, needs an in­jec­tion of new gas from as early as 2019 to keep it full.

Wood­side, the NWS op­er­a­tor, is al­ready talk­ing to Hess about toll­treat­ing 2tcf from the Equus field and is also hop­ing for its own ex­plo­ration suc­cess.

Speak­ing in Syd­ney at Wood­side’s an­nual in­vestor brief­ing day re­cently, chief ex­ec­u­tive Peter Cole­man high­lighted the value of own­ing ex­ist­ing pro­cess­ing plants — the Perth com­pany also runs the Pluto op­er­a­tion — and talked up the NWS as a “world-class low­est cost plant (with) ca­pac­ity avail­able (for) other re­source own­ers’ gas”.

But Mr Cole­man all but ruled out us­ing gas from the long-stranded Browse fields as NWS back­fill, mak­ing clear his com­pany’s fo­cus re­mained on a phased float­ing LNG de­vel­op­ment for the three fields off the Kim­ber­ley coast that con­tain 16tcf and 466 mil­lion bar­rels of con­den­sate.

Mr Cole­man said he ex­pected to com­plete the con­cept se­lect mile­stone, de­tail­ing how to struc­ture a phased de­vel­op­ment of the Browse fields, by the sec­ond half of next year.

He did not re­veal more de­tails other than to hint the “high­est value” start-up would likely fo­cus on the Cal­liance or Brec­knock fields, and not the more com­plex Torosa, and that Wood­side was talk­ing to var­i­ous FLNG tech­nol­ogy de­vel­op­ers to find a cost-ef­fec­tive so­lu­tion.

A deal with Browse project part­ner Shell to use the de­sign one, build many tech­nol­ogy based on the An­glo-Dutch gi­ant’s five-yearold Pre­lude project, was ter­mi­nated in March.

Mr Cole­man, who said Pre­lude’s tech­nol­ogy had al­ready been su­per­seded by newer and bet­ter ver­sions, said Shell it­self was work­ing on a new model, though he was yet to see it.

“(Pre­lude) was se­rial No. 1, it was a tech­nol­ogy that we ob­served at the time was de­signed well,” he said. “It was a con­ver­sa­tive tech­nol­ogy to make sure it worked and de­liv­ered on its prom­ise, it was not that well slimmed down for off­shore.”

Wood­side is hunt­ing for cost-sav­ing cap­i­tal and op­er­at­ing mod­i­fi­ca­tions such as a shorter ves­sel (325m to 350m) than the 488m-long Pre­lude to en­able more ship­yards to ten­der for the con­struc­tion, as well as greater LNG through­put.

The mas­sive Browse re­source means the project re­mains front and cen­tre of in­vestors’ minds as they pon­der where the next step change in Wood­side’s growth pro­file is go­ing to come from.

Pic­ture: Tom Zaun­mayr

Wood­side's North West Shelf joint ven­ture.

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