NW Shelf project to double LNG production

Plans to double LNG production from the Woodside Petroleum Ltd.-led North West Shelf project have intensified over the last 6 months, said Chris Haynes, chief executive of the North West Shelf joint venture, in Brisbane this week.


BRISBANE�Plans to double LNG production from the Woodside Petroleum Ltd.-led North West Shelf project have intensified over the last 6 months, said Chris Haynes, chief executive of the North West Shelf joint venture, in Brisbane at the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) conference.

Haynes said negotiations with prospective Japanese buyers have "solidified," and the group is much more confident of a successful outcome than this time last year.

The joint venture has set itself a target of mid-2004 for delivery of an additional 3.6-4.0 million tonnes/year of LNG to Japan, taking the total shelf production to around 11 million tonnes/year. However, to meet this timetable�which includes the addition of a $3 billion (Aus.), single-train expansion of the liquefaction plant on Burrup Peninsula in Western Australia�there will need to be signed letters of intent with Japanese customers by mid-year. Firm sales agreements will then need to be secured by the end of 2000.

Woodside has already extended the deadlines for the project expansion several times following deregulation of the Japanese power industry and lingering effects of the Asian economic meltdown that prompted Japanese buyers to stall their commitments to take further LNG supplies. Initially the expansion was for two trains. Now the plan is for a staged train-by-train approach.

Haynes said Woodside had also become more innovative in its designs and had cut 20% from the design costs of the project.

More in LNG