The Bonaparte floating LNG (FLNG) project in the Bonaparte Gulf offshore northern Australia—as proposed by a joint venture of GDF Suez and Santos Ltd.—has received environmental approval from the federal government. The nod paves the way for the front-end engineering and design process to begin in 2013.
The project involves a 2 million tonne/year of LNG development some 250 km west of Darwin to be fed with gas from the Petrel, Tern, and Frigate gas fields, which lie across the offshore boundary of Northern Territory and Western Australia.
The fields will host a total of 22 production wells hooked in to a FLNG vessel. The environmental approval comes with 15 conditions attached, including measures to protect whales and dolphins.
The government also has stipulated the need for a marine pollution contingency plan to include dealing with any spills both subsea and on the FLNG vessel.
The project is now on track for FEED to begin in mid-2013 and looking for a final investment decision in late 2014. The project would then be brought on stream in 2018.
Development drilling is scheduled to begin in 2016 and take 2 years to complete. Overall life of the project will be 25-30 years.
The Petrel-Tern-Frigate gas fields were found by ARCO in the late 1960s through to the early 1970s, but were not developed at that stage because gas was not a commercial proposition.
GDF Suez has 60% and operatorship. Santos has the remaining 40% interest in the project.