Mooring Installation Works Commence at Ichthys
Mooring installation works have commenced at the Ichthys Field in the Browse Basin offshore from Western Australia as part of the Inpex-operated Ichthys LNG Project’s ongoing offshore installation campaign.
The first of 49 foundation piles was safely deployed and driven into the seabed in May 2015 in a water depth of 250 meters (820 feet). Each pile is about 66 meters (210 feet) long and weighs more than 450 tons.
Ichthys Project Managing Director Louis Bon said that installation of the complex network of subsea infrastructure and equipment across the 800 square kilometer (8,600 square feet) Ichthys Field was progressing well.
“The mooring installation works are part of the offshore installation campaign that the Ichthys LNG Project commenced in October 2014,” Bon said.
“As part of that campaign, we are installing more than 30,000 tons of subsea infrastructure and equipment across the Ichthys Field so that we will be able to safely and efficiently extract gas and condensate.”
The mooring work is being carried out specifically to prepare for the arrival of the project’s two big offshore facilities – the central processing facility (CPF) and the FPSO.
Currently under construction in South Korea, the CPF and FPSO, once completed, will be towed to the Ichthys Field in 2016 and moored for the life of operations – about 40 years – by 40,000 tons of chain secured to about 20,000 tons of foundation piles.
The mooring installation work scope is being led by Heerema Marine Contractors Australia, under subcontract to the lead contractor McDermott Australia, using the deepwater construction vessel DCV Aegir. Moorings will be installed by DCV Aegir in non-continuous phases, with piles driven first and mooring chains laid out later in the campaign.
As of May 2015, the Ichthys LNG Project had installed 47 kilometers of flowlines, more than 30 flowline sleeper structures and a 6,500 ton riser support structure (RSS) in the field.
Twelve Trillion Cubic Feet of Gas
The Ichthys reservoirs are situated in the Timor Sea around 200 kilometers off the WA coast and more than 800 kilometers (500 miles) southwest of Darwin. Exploration wells resulted in the discovery of an extremely promising gas and condensate field with reserves estimates from two geological horizons of around twelve trillion cubic feet of gas and five hundred million barrels of condensate. This makes it the largest discovery of hydrocarbon liquids in Australia in more than 40 years.
When operational, the project is expected to produce 8.4 million tons of LNG and 1.6 million tons of LPG per annum, along with approximately 100,000 barrels of condensate per day at peak.
The project includes some of the world's biggest and most advanced offshore facilities, massive onshore processing facilities near Darwin in the Northern Territory and an 889 kilometer gas export pipeline to unite them. Each of these three components is itself a mega-project and work is progressing for all, with production scheduled for the end of 2016.
To fund the project, Inpex successfully raised $20 billion in what is the biggest project financing ever arranged in the international financial markets. The project is underpinned by sales and purchase agreements that cover the total production volume of 8.4 million tons a year of LNG for 15 years with shipments beginning in 2017.
Seiya Ito, INPEX President Director Australia, said, “It is one of the few mega projects to incorporate virtually all elements of the production chain. In the case of Ichthys this means extensive subsea infrastructure, massive offshore facilities including an FPSO and the world’s largest semisubmersible platform, the longest subsea pipeline in the Southern Hemisphere and state-of-the-art onshore processing facilities in Darwin.”
The project is expected to contribute more than AU$13 billion to the Australian economy.
More Exploration Underway
Inpex announced recently that its subsidiary Inpex Browse E&P was awarded exploration permits for further blocks on the region. Inpex Browse will hold a 40 percent interest in Release Areas WA-513-P and WA-514-P while Santos, the operator, will hold a 60 percent participating interest.
Blocks WA-513-P and WA-514-P cover an area of 335 square kilometers and 415 square kilometers, respectively, where the water is approximately 300-400m deep, and are located about 500km north-northeast of Broome, off the coast of the state of Western Australia.
Inpex now holds 13 exploration permits or retention leases in the vicinity of the Ichthys field.
The blocks are situated near large gas reserves that have been discovered, including the Ichthys gas-condensate field, as well as the Prelude and Concerto gas fields. Most recently, a gas discovery was made at the Lasseter-1/ST1 exploration well in block WA-274-P, partially adjacent to WA-513-P.
Inpex is committed to further expanding its exploration and development activities in the Asia-Oceania region and has grown from the four core areas of Japan, Australia, Indonesia and Abu-Dhabi, into the Caspian Sea region, Russia, Africa and the Americas. Currently, the company is involved in nearly 80 oil and gas projects in 28 countries.