Shell plans development drilling at Crux for gas backfill to Prelude

Aug. 16, 2022
Shell Australia Pty. Ltd. has submitted an environment plan to Australia's NOPSEMA for development drilling on Crux gas field in Browse basin off Western Australia.

Shell Australia Pty. Ltd. has submitted an environment plan (EP) to the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environment Management Authority (NOPSEMA) for development drilling on Crux natural gas field in production license AC/L10 in Browse basin off Western Australia. The EP is inclusive of drilling template and docking pile installation, the use of a mobile offshore drilling unit, in-field support vessels and helicopters, remote operated vehicles and well suspension, and contingent sidetrack and plugging and abandonment activities. It will be the first significant infield work on Crux.

Shell took final investment decision (FID) on Crux in May 2022. The company intends to use Crux gas as backfill for the Prelude floating LNG (FLNG) vessel 160 km to the southwest. The first environmental approval for overall development of Crux was granted by NOPSEMA in August 2020.

The company expects drilling template installation to occur second-quarter 2023 about 3 months ahead of arrival of the drilling unit. Drilling of an initial five wells will take about 10 months with an additional 10-month contingency drilling period. Wells will then be temporarily suspended, and subsequent completions will follow topside installation. Well completion activity will be the subject of a separate EP, Shell said.

The Crux development will have capacity to supply Prelude with up to 550 MMcfd of gas via a linking pipeline. The Crux platform will be remotely operated from Prelude FLNG. First gas is expected in 2027.

Shell is operator of Crux with 82% interest, SGH Energy (Seven Group Holdings) holds 15% and Osaka Gas 3%.