Esso Australia, part of ExxonMobil, and BHP Billiton have announced they will invest $500 million each in the new  Longford Gas Conditioning Plant (LGCP) Project as part of the Gippsland Basin Joint Venture located in Victoria, Australia.

Pending regulatory approval, the plant will process gas from the multi-billion dollar Kipper Tuna Turrum Project, Australia’s largest domestic gas development located on the eastern seaboard.

The LGCP will add carbon dioxide (CO2) removal capacity to the Longford Gas Plant which is necessary to condition production from the Turrum offshore development project. The LGCP will be designed to process approximately 400 million standard cubic feet of gas per day and will reduce the CO2 content of treated gas to less than three per cent.

“The gas conditioning plant is an important project for the Gippsland region and will create around 250 direct construction jobs as well as provide other indirect employment opportunities,” said John Dashwood, chairman of ExxonMobil Australia.

Dashwood said the gas conditioning plant is part of ExxonMobil Australia’s current multi-billion dollar investment program in natural gas projects, which will help provide energy to power economic growth while also meeting a commitment to a cleaner energy future.

“Australian energy consumption will continue to grow during the next 20 years,” said Dashwood. “The gas conditioning plant will process gas to help meet this expected increase in demand. And because of its cleaner-burning qualities, natural gas is a powerful option for reducing the environmental impact of energy use.”

BHP Billiton Chief Executive Petroleum, J Michael Yeager, said: “The Longford Gas Conditioning Plant is a necessary extension of Bass Strait infrastructure to enable valuable hydrocarbon liquids production and domestic gas supply for years to come.”

Esso Australia’s facilities at Longford have been operating for more than 40 years but were designed to treat natural gas with a different composition. The new plant is needed to condition Kipper Tuna Turrum natural gas to meet gas quality specifications for sale into the market.

Esso Australia is working with a number of key government bodies to ensure the gas conditioning plant project is completed safely and with minimal impact on the surrounding community and environment.

Construction of the plant is expected to commence in the third quarter of 2013, subject to appropriate regulatory approvals. It is anticipated the facility will be operational in 2016.

BHP Billiton and Esso Australia Resources Pty Ltd each have a 50 per cent interest in the Gippsland Basin Joint Venture. Esso Australia is the operator.

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