Cooper Energy has announced a $55 million commitment to support increased and new gas supply for south-east Australia.
The Minerva Gas Plant is located approximately 5 kilometres northwest of Port Campbell, Victoria and has the capacity to process up to 150 terajoules per day.
Cooper Energy (Operator and 50 per cent interest holder) and Mitsui Group (50 per cent interest) took possession of the plant in December 2019.
Since then, front end engineering and design (FEED) work have been completed to support the Final Investment Decision to upgrade and connect the plant to process gas produced from the existing Casino, Henry and Netherby fields in the VIC L24/L30 permit areas held by Cooper Energy 50 per cent and Mitsui Group 50 per cent.
The two companies have spent $17.8 million purchasing the plant and on FEED work and care and maintenance. They now plan to invest $37 million to upgrade the plant to enable the supply of 16 petajoules (PJ) of currently undeveloped gas.
Cooper Energy Managing Director, David Maxwell, said the investment decision represents an important milestone in Cooper Energy’s continuing growth as a safe, competitive, efficient and reliable developer and marketer of new gas supplies in south-east Australia.
“This is a ‘shovel-ready project’ which will see Cooper Energy and Mitsui Group upgrade the idle Minerva Gas Plant to be a processing hub for local production and discoveries in offshore Otway Basin, Victoria,” he detailed.
“It means local jobs for local contractors which will help deliver reliable gas supplies into the east coast market.”
“The investment follows the successful exploration program by Cooper Energy and Mitsui Group resulting in the Annie-1 gas discovery, in the Otway Basin, the first offshore discovery in south-east Australia over seven years.”
The project will draw gas from four offshore wells (Casino-4, Casino-5, Henry-2, and Netherby-1) into the Minerva plant via a pipeline tie-in and minor modifications.
Cooper Energy notes that this will improve recovery enabled by lower plant inlet pressure and provide the ability to offer customers firm supply.
The project is expected to create approximately 30-50 local jobs during execution with 20 ongoing local jobs.
Following the completion and performance testing, first gas is expected within the September quarter 2021, incorporating allowances for uncertainty from COVID-19. The company notes that it is possible further restrictions and supply chain disruption arising from COVID-19 could impose delays to this schedule.
The Minerva Gas Plant is expected to be renamed as the Athena Gas Plant in recognition of the expansion to its role from a dedicated plant to the now depleted Minerva gas field to a hub for supply from existing offshore Otway gas fields and future discoveries.