ConocoPhillips group ponders Darwin LNG expansion

ConocoPhillips is heading a group of companies involved in Timor Sea gas fields that has started to mull over the feasibility of a multimillion-dollar expansion of the existing Darwin LNG project that currently sources gas from Bayu-Undan field.

ConocoPhillips is heading a group of companies involved in Timor Sea gas fields that has started to mull over the feasibility of a multimillion-dollar expansion of the existing Darwin LNG project that currently sources gas from Bayu-Undan field.

ConocoPhillips serves as operator or Darwin LNG, which is cited at Wickham Point. Other Darwin LNG partners include Santos Ltd, Eni SPA, Inpex, Tokyo Electric Power, and Tokyo Gas Co.

Currently, the plant has only one train. With a production capacity of 3.6 million tonnes/year, it has been on stream since 2006 but is expected to run low on gas supplies from Bayu-Undan by 2022. ConocoPhillips and Santos have already been considering a $10-million development of their Barossa and Caldita fields in the eastern Timor Sea to fill the coming shortfall for Train 1.

The new study will look at finding ways to develop other gas fields to supply a second train at the Wickham Point site.

The $625,000 (Aus.) project is being backed by a number of companies, including ConocoPhillips, Santos, Origin Energy Ltd, Royal Dutch Shell PLC, Eni, PTTEP, and SK Corp., that hold interests in these as-yet undeveloped offshore gas fields in the Timor Sea region.

They include Evans Shoal, Poseidon, Cash-Maple, and Petrel-Tern, which have languished in the uneconomic basket for a number of years for various reasons.

The Northern Territory government also is backing the feasibility study with $250,000 because it sees the plan as an important investment towards a business case for potential expansion of Darwin LNG that would result in creation of jobs during construction and operation.

The government backing is in direct contrast to its current moratorium on hydraulic fracturing for the onshore industry in the Northern Territory.

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