Written by Audrey Leon Tuesday, 30 June 2015 20:40
After postponing a final investment decision due to the low oil prices last December, Australian operator Woodside Petroleum has announced it will press forward into the FEED phase for its long-struggling Browse LNG mega project.
The company’s CEO Peter Coleman called the decision a “significant step” toward developing the three offshore gas fields that make up the Browse resources. Woodside and its joint venture partners have opted to utilize Shell’s FLNG concept for the development. The FEED phase will help determine a final investment decision by the Browse partners by 2H 2016, Woodside said.
The Browse FLNG development concept is based on three FLNG facilities utilizing Shell’s FLNG technology and Woodside’s expertise to commercialize the Brecknock, Calliance and Torosa fields.
The fields, located 425km offshore north of Broome in Western Australia in water 300-700m deep, are thought to contain gross (100%) contingent resources (2C) of 15.4 Tcf of dry gas and 453 MMbbl of condensate. The Torosa field, the first of the fields discovered, was found in 1971. Brecknock followed in 1979, and Calliance came later in 2000.
Woodside said that further work is being undertaken during the FEED phase to determine a range of details related to the commercialization timing and sequencing of FLNG deployment, including the potential for one of the Brecknock/Calliance facilities to be relocated to the Torosa field later in the field development.
LNG mega-projects off Western Australia were hot commodities prior to the global oil price drop. Those sanctioned in the late 2000s, early 2010s have pressed forward to nearly half complete, if not more, including Chevron’s Wheatstone (60% complete) and Gorgon (90% complete), as well as another Browse basin project, Inpex’s Ichthys LNG (60% complete), and Shell’s Prelude FLNG, which will also sit in the Browse basin. This project is the concept on which Woodside is basing Browse’s development.
Prelude FLNG allows for the production, liquefaction, storage and transfer of LNG at sea, as well as the ability to process and export liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and condensate. The Prelude FLNG facility will be 488m long by 74m wide, weighing more than 600,000 tonnes fully ballasted. The Prelude FLNG facility is anticipated to stay moored at location for 25 years, and is expected to produce 3.6 MTPA of LNG, 1.3 MTPA of condensate and 0.4 MTPA of LPG. Production is expected by 2017.
However, despite these projects popularity, concept selection has taken some time for Woodside, and in April 2013, Woodside elected not to move forward with a proposed Browse LNG development that would have included an onshore component near James Price Point in northwestern Australia, finding that the plan did not “meet its commercial requirements for a positive final investment decision.” In June of 2013, joint venture partner BHP Billiton jumped ship, selling its then-8.33% in the venture to PetroChina for US$1.63 billion.
The Browse joint venture now includes Woodside (30.6%), Shell Australia (27%), BP Developments Australia (17.3%), Japan Australia LNG (MIMI Browse) (14.4%), PetroChina International Investment (10.67%).