Cooper Energy, AWE and Mitsui E&P Australia will jointly acquire BHP’s 90 per cent interest in the Minerva gas plant in Victoria. Cooper is already a minority holder in Minerva, owning the remaining 10 per cent.
Cooper, AWE and Mitsui hold interests in the Casino Henry gas project and VIC/P44 exploration acreage in the Otway Basin. The acquisition would therefore represent a third acquisition in the highly prospective region for the three companies.
The Minerva agreement is conditional on completion of regulatory approvals, and will see Cooper, AWE and Mitsui E&P Australia take a 50-25-25 split of the 90 per cent figure, respectively.
However, the offshore Minerva gas field and associated pipeline will not be subject to transaction and will remain owned by BHP and Cooper at a 90-10 split.
According to Cooper Energy managing director David Maxwell, the transaction would represent a prime asset for the company and its fellow acquirers.
The company intends to lift production by drilling a development well on the Henry field as well as drilling for new gas reserves.
“Our analysis indicates the plant can offer a highly competitive processing option for gas from Casino Henry and other gas fields in the region,” said Maxwell.
“Ownership of the plant has clear strategic merit and can significantly further enhance the economics of Otway Basin gas development and production.
“We foresee acquisition of the Minerva plant dovetailing with our exploration and development plans for the offshore Otway Basin.”