Browse partners agree to FLNG option

Woodside have announced that its Browse partners have signed off on the use of FLNG technology to develop the gasfields off the Kimberley coast.

Woodside announced yesterday that companies involved in the project, including Shell, PetroChina and Japan's Mitsubishi and Mitsui had agreed to progress a basis of design work based on FLNG technology.

Woodside said the basis of design work would determine the major design parameters for front end engineering and design (FEED) of the FNLG facilities and associated infrastructure.

"The BOD phase will be executed by Woodside as operator of the Browse joint venture, with support from Shell as the FLNG technology provider, to enable the optimal development of the Browse resources," Woodside said in a statement.

"Work will commence immediately to undertake all of the necessary studies and work required to place the Browse joint venture participants in a position to consider the commencement of FEED for the selected development concept in 2014."

Woodside had originally planned to develop Browse though on onshore facility at James Price Point, but scrapped the project in April stating the development concept no longer met the company’s commercial requirements for a positive final investment decision.

The project would have cost $45 billion.

Woodside chief Peter Coleman has previously said the employment opportunities for work on the FLNG structure would be greater than that of an offshore plant, urging WA’s manufacturers to get involved.

"Our view is to maximise the use of local industry, and we want local industry to develop themselves so they are competitive, not just in WA but internationally," Coleman said.

Gas giant Shell, which has a 27 per cent interest in the Browse venture has previously stated that FLNG could be the saviour of LNG in Australia as high costs continue to hamstring onshore projects.

Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett has been vehemently opposed to the development of Browse through a floating option, claiming it will lead to less jobs, increased safety risks and a loss in investment opportunities for WA.

Woodside's aim is to make a final investment decision on the first of three proposed FLNG vessels by 2015, ahead of first production in 2017.


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