On 28 January 2021, Esso Australia Pty Ltd (Esso, a subsidiary of ExxonMobil Australia Pty Ltd) revealed that it was nearing completion of its West Barracouta project, which will bring much-needed new gas supply to the Australian domestic market this year, as it gets ready to construct the project’s final subsea infrastructure.
The West Barracouta gas development involves the drilling of two gas production wells and the construction of associated subsea gas production facilities to access gas in the existing Barracouta field. The development will leverage Esso’s existing oil and gas production infrastructure in Gippsland.
Once built, the West Barracouta subsea infrastructure will be controlled from the Barracouta platform over five kilometres away.
West Barracouta gas will be delivered through a five-kilometre pipeline via a new connection into the existing Barracouta pipeline so that the gas flows directly to the Longford Gas Plants.
The new pipeline will be connected using a hot-tap, which means that important Barracouta gas supplies via the existing pipeline can continue uninterrupted while the new pipeline is being connected.
Esso has outlined that the arrival of the Subsea 7 Seven Eagle Diving Support Vessel in Victoria in January means the company is on-track to have West Barracouta gas flowing to the Australian domestic gas market this year.
“The Esso-BHP Gippsland Joint Venture has been the largest supplier of gas to the eastern Australia market for more than 50 years. In fact, Barracouta is the first offshore field ever discovered in Australia,” commented Nathan Fay, Chairman of Esso Australia.
“Over this period, our operations have delivered more than four billion barrels of oil and 10 trillion cubic feet of natural gas to Australia. This is more than half of all the oil ever produced in Australia, and enough gas to power almost every home in Australia for a decade.”
West Barracouta builds on more than $5.5 billion invested by the Gippsland Basin Joint Venture in other recent projects to increase gas supply for Australia, including the Kipper Tuna Turrum offshore project and the Longford Gas Conditioning Plant.
ExxonMobil subsidiary Esso Australia Pty Ltd operates the Gippsland Basin Joint Venture on behalf of a 50-50 joint venture with BHP Billiton Petroleum (Bass Strait) Pty Ltd and Esso Australia Resources Pty Ltd.