Sydney (Platts)–7 Aug 2015 958 am EDT/1358 GMT
ExxonMobil has completed a A$335 million ($246 million) drilling program at the Turrum field in Bass Strait aimed at unlocking additional gas supplies for eastern Australia.
The program, undertaken by ExxonMobil subsidiary Esso Australia, comprised five new wells which were drilled from the Marlin B platform and was completed ahead of schedule, the company said Friday. Of the wells, four will produce gas and one will pump oil.
The work follows the startup of the $4.5 billion Kipper Tuna Turrum project, the largest oil and gas development on Australia’s east coast.
The Turrum and Tuna fields are part of the Gippsland Basin joint venture, owned 50% each by ExxonMobil and BHP Billiton.
The Kipper field partners are ExxonMobil and BHP Billiton with 32.5% each and Santos with 35%.
The Turrum field began producing oil when the Marlin B platform started up in October 2013, but its gas has been re-injected, awaiting the commissioning of a new gas conditioning plant at the onshore Longford processing facility in 2016.
Turrum holds an estimated 1 Tcf of natural gas and 110 million barrels of oil and gas liquids.
“The success of the Turrum drilling program demonstrates what is needed to ensure future investment in Gippsland,” said ExxonMobil Australia Chairman Richard Owen. “In order to ensure the continuation of our local operations, we must work together as a team to find productivity improvements not just in major projects, but across the full spectrum of our business.”
Bass Strait’s Gippsland Basin was Australia’s first offshore oil and gas province and has produced more than 4 billion barrels of crude and 8 Tcf of gas since operations began in 1965.
The Gippsland Basin joint venture continues to supply nearly 40% of eastern Australia’s domestic gas demand.
The eastern Australian gas market comprises the states of Victoria, South Australia, New South Wales and Queensland.
The market is undergoing significant change due to the ongoing startup of three export-oriented LNG projects in Queensland, which is expected to raise total gas consumption in the eastern states to around 2,100 petajoules/year, from around 700 Pj/year previously.
The emergence of the LNG industry has resulted in domestic gas prices rising from historic levels of around $3-$4/gigajoule to oil-linked export parity of about $6-$9/Gj.