BHP and Exxon Mobil gas project won’t stop shortages

BHP and Exxon Mobil have begin work on the last remaining large gas reservoir in the offshore Bass Strait oil and gas fields.

The $550 million West Barracouta project will only offset gas production in decline from other Bass Strait reservoirs, though it will maintain supplies in a time of shortage.

Announcing the project in December BHP said the field was one of the largest remaining sweet gas reservoirs in Bass Strait and would link to existing Gippsland Basin Joint Venture infrastructure.

General Manager BHP Petroleum Australia Graham Salmond said the project was significant to the Australian domestic market.

Salmond said: “The West Barracouta project is an important investment…that will unlock a high quality, new gas resource and help offset Bass Strait production decline at a vital time for the east coast market.”

Now the partners have begun work on the project, with gas to arrive on-market in 2021 according to media reports.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) recently pointed to a slight improvement in the short-term outlook for gas supplies on the east coast.

But the ACCC said the outlook for the next decade was “uncertain”.

“The southern states risk facing a shortfall in the medium term unless more exploration and development occurs in the south to compensate for ex-Longford (Bass Strait onshore processing) production,”

BHP said it was assessing other potential development opportunities in the Bass Strait to bring new supply to the domestic market.

Picture: Exxon Mobil

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