ExxonMobil has made a final investment decision for the development of the West Barracouta offshore gas field in Bass Strait, Australia. The project, located in the VIC/L1 block offshore Victoria, will serve the Australian domestic market.
The West Barracouta project will be tied back to the existing Barracouta infrastructure offshore in Bass Strait, the first offshore field ever discovered in Australia. The field is located 6 kilometers southwest of the existing Barracouta platform which is located approximately 23 km off the Gippsland coast in approximately 46 meters of water depth.
ExxonMobil subsidiary Esso Australia Pty Ltd operates the Gippsland Basin Joint Venture on behalf of a 50-50 joint venture with BHP Billiton.
“We continue to use advanced technology, along with our extensive, decades-long understanding of the Gippsland Basin, to ensure full potential of the resource can be realized,” said Neil W. Duffin, president of ExxonMobil Production Company. “Our objective is to produce West Barracouta gas for the Australian domestic gas market by 2021.”
According to ExxonMobil, the Gippsland Basin Joint Venture continues to supply about 40 percent of east coast Australian domestic gas demand.
“The new project builds on more than $4 billion (AUD $5.5 billion) invested by the Gippsland Basin Joint Venture in other recent projects in Victoria to supply Australian domestic gas demand, including the Kipper Tuna Turrum offshore project and the Longford Gas Conditioning Plant,” Exxon said.
Since the first Bass Strait well was drilled in 1965, about four billion barrels of crude oil and eight trillion cubic feet of natural gas have been produced.”
“The Gippsland Basin Joint Venture has 50 years of experience in Bass Strait,” said Richard Owen, chairman ExxonMobil Australia. “Since the first Bass Strait well was drilled in 1965, about four billion barrels of crude oil and eight trillion cubic feet of natural gas have been produced.”
While ExxonMobil did not say how much the project is expected to cost, BHP Billiton said in a separate statement that its share of the cost would be around AUD$200 million. Given the 50-50 ownership split, the cost is then estimated at AUD 400 million, or USD 289 million.
BHP Billiton said: “The project will see the development of one of the largest remaining sweet gas reservoirs in Bass Strait, through a two well brownfield tieback into existing Gippsland Basin Joint Venture infrastructure. ”
General Manager BHP Petroleum Australia Graham Salmond said: “The West Barracouta project is an important investment, underpinned by strong economics and rates of return, that will unlock a high quality, new gas resource and help offset Bass Strait production decline at a vital time for the east coast market.”
He said: “The Gippsland Basin Joint Venture has played a central role in reliably meeting the needs of the Eastern Australia domestic gas market for 50 years. We are also assessing other potential development opportunities in the Bass Strait to bring new supply to the domestic market.”
Offshore Energy Today Staff