ExxonMobil and BHP have made a final investment decision to develop the West Barracouta gas field to bring fresh gas to the Australian domestic market.
The West Barracouta project is positioned in the VIC/L1 block offshore Victoria and will see the development of one of the largest remaining sweet gas reservoirs in the Bass Strait, through a two well brownfield tieback into the existing Esso-BHP Gippsland Basin Joint Venture infrastructure.
The project will be operated through ExxonMobil subsidiary Esso in a 50/50 joint venture with BHP.
Front-end engineering design work for the project has already been completed and contracts were awarded to Subsea 7 and OneSubsea, a Schlumberger company.
Richard Owen, Chairman ExxonMobil Australia said the aim is to produce West Barracouta gas for the domestic gas market by 2021.
“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 realised,” Mr Owen said.
BHP Petroleum Australia General Manager, Graham Salmond also said BHP’s AUD$200 million investment in the project is 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.
“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,” Mr Salmond commented.
In addition to this, BHP will continue to assess other potential development opportunities in the Bass Strait to bring further gas supply to the Australian domestic market.