ExxonMobil, BHP move forward with West Barracouta project

Image: ExxonMobil

Joint venture partners ExxonMobil and BHP have approved the development of the western dome of the Barracouta gas field in the Bass Strait offshore Victoria.

ExxonMobil yesterday confirmed it had made a final investment decision to develop the gas field, while BHP announced plans to spend around $200 million on the project.

Both companies talked up the project’s potential to deliver much-needed gas supplies to the domestic market in eastern Australia.

The partners will develop one of the largest remaining sweet gas reservoirs in Bass Strait through a two well brownfield tieback into existing Gippsland Basin JV infrastructure.

ExxonMobil recently completed front-end engineering design work for the project and awarded contracts to Subsea 7 and OneSubsea.

“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,” ExxonMobil Australia chairman Richard Owen said.

“Our objective is to produce West Barracouta gas for the Australian domestic gas market by 2021.”

The Gippsland Basin JV already supplies about 40 percent of east coast gas demand. Barracouta was the first offshore field ever discovered in Australia.

BHP Petroleum Australia general manager Graham Salmond highlighted the ongoing significance of the Bass Strait to the Australian domestic market and the company’s portfolio.

“The West Barracouta project is an important investment, 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,” Salmond said.

“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.

“We are also assessing other potential development opportunities in the Bass Strait to bring new supply to the domestic market.”