Australian oil shale firms eye Stuart plant expansion

Southern Pacific Petroleum NL and Central Pacific Minerals NL said they plan to produce 200,000 b/d of shale oil products from their Queensland deposits by 2012. That would include 85,000 b/d of production from the Stuart shale plant and production from the Condor or Rundle deposits.


By an OGJ Online Correspondent

MELBOURNE, Apr. 30 -- Southern Pacific Petroleum NL and Central Pacific Minerals NL said they plan to produce 200,000 b/d of shale oil products from their Queensland deposits by 2012.

That would include 85,000 b/d of production from the fully developed Stuart Project Stage 3 by 2009 and the expectation of production from either the Condor or Rundle deposits by the end of the current decade.

The companies recently assumed operatorship of the Stuart plant from Suncor Energy Ltd.

Managing director Jim McFarland told the companies' annual meeting in Brisbane that the prediction was predicated on continuing progress with the Stuart Stage 1 project, including reaching a break-even point of 1,600 b/d during the fourth quarter.

He said the companies would decide whether to proceed to Stage 2 by the end of 2001. Goal is to begin Stage 2 construction in 2003 and start production late in 2005, an 18-month delay from the original schedule. Prefeasibility work is also planned for the Condor deposit near Proserpine.

McFarland said based on the success of Stuart, the companies may attract $8 billion (Aus.) of investments over the next 10 years. They own 2.6 billion bbl of oil shale resources in Queensland.

He said following environmental problems last year, modifications at the Stuart plant have reduced sulfur dioxide emissions 95%, odors 60%, and dioxins 60%. Shale dust has also been reduced.

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