Minerva gas field due on stream off Australia

Rick Wilkinson
OGJ correspondent

MELBOURNE, Dec. 13 -- BHP Billiton Ltd., Melbourne, soon will begin commissioning the onshore gas plant that will handle production from Minerva gas and condensate field off Australia—11 years after the initial discovery. The plant will be able to handle 139.5 MMcfd of gas and 600 b/d of gas liquids. Full field production is expected early in 2005.

The field is in the Otway basin, 10 km off Port Campbell, Victoria. BHP estimates proved and probable Minerva reserves at 300 bcf of gas and 1.24 million bbl of condensate.

Gas from two subsea wells will flow via an underwater pipeline and subsurface shore crossing. Processed gas will be delivered to the South Australia electric power generation market via the recently completed, 630 km Seagas pipeline from Port Campbell to Adelaide. BHP signed a 10-year gas sales agreement in March 2002 with Pelican Point Power Ltd. of Adelaide, a wholly owned subsidiary of International Power PLC (OGJ Online, May 30, 2001).

BHP holds a 90% interest in the $170 million Minerva project, and Adelaide-based Santos Ltd. holds 10%.

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