BHP divests Minerva plant
THE Casino Henry joint venture – comprising Cooper Energy, AWE and Mitsui E&P Australia – has inked a deal to acquire BHP’S 90 per cent stake in the Minerva gas plant in Victoria. The plant is one of three onshore processing plants in Victoria that process gas from the Otway Basin, and upon completion of the sale, will offer competitive pricing options for gas from Casino Henry and other fields in the region, including the joint venture’s VIC/P44 exploration acreage. Under the deal, Cooper Energy will increase its 10 per cent stake in the plant to 50 per cent, and AWE and Mitsui will each hold a 25 per cent interest (a collective 50 per cent stake since Mitsui is in the process of acquiring AWE). The offshore Minerva gas field and offshore gas pipeline will remain owned by BHP (90 per cent) and Cooper Energy (10 per cent). Cooper Energy managing director David Maxwell said acquiring the plant had “clear strategic merit and can significantly further enhance the economics of Otway Basin gas development and production”. “We foresee the acquisition of the Minerva plant dovetailing with our exploration and development plans for the offshore Otway Basin,” Mr Maxwell said. “These plans include lifting production through the drilling of a development well on the Henry field and drilling for new gas reserves.” The plant has been operational for 13 years, with a gas processing capacity of about 150 terajoules per day and hydrocarbon liquids processing facilities. Cooper Energy said the joint venture had progressed preliminary engineering design work for processing gas at the plant. Studies included building a 0.25km pipeline tie-in to connect to Casino Henry, which is currently contracted to process gas at Lochard Energy’s Iona gas facility until December 2018.