By Lauren DeLorenzo, Journalist, Pump Industry magazine

According to analysis by GlobalData, Australia can expect 118 oil and gas projects to be up and running between 2021 and 2025. With an expected gas shortage on the horizon, there is even more pressure on these projects, and the pumps that power them, to accelerate to construction phase. Here, we take a look at some of the biggest upcoming projects in Australia, and the critical role of pumps in their operation.

Existing project expansions

Gorgon Stage Two Development

As one of the world’s largest natural gas projects, the Gorgon Project produces a daily average of 2.6 billion cubic feet of natural gas (equivalent to 300TJ) and 18,000 barrels of condensate.

The $36 billion facility comprises a liquified natural gas (LNG) plant and a domestic gas plant on Barrow Island, Western Australia. It draws from Gorgon and Jansz-lo gas fields, located between 130 and 200km off the north-west coast of Western Australia.

The project is operated by Chevron Australia (47.3 per cent stake) and is a joint venture between ExxonMobil, Shell, Osaka Gas, Tokyo Gas and JERA. As the field has been producing gas for close to a decade, reservoir pressure is expected to decline. Additional compression will enhance field recoverability and extend long-term gas supply.

Stage two development plans include installing three additional infill wells, and connecting them back to the existing Gorgon M1 Manifold. Four wells will be tied back to a new Gorgon M4 Manifold, and four will be tied to a new Jansz Drill Centre 3 combined Manifold.

This stage also involves the installation of new infield control umbilicals and interconnecting flying leads at Gorgon M4 and the Jansz Drill Centre 3. Chevron’s environment plan for the commissioning, start-up and operation of the wells was approved in April 2022, with start-up activities expected to begin in the second half of the year.

East Coast Grid Expansion

APA Group is expanding its east coast gas grid to meet winter gas supply shortfalls from 2023 onwards. The $270 million expansion aims to increase winter peak capacity of the east coast grid by 25 per cent, with works taking place in two stages.

Stage one of the project began in the first half of 2022, and involves the construction of a compressor station on both the South West Queensland Pipeline (SWQP) and the Moomba Wilton Pipeline (MWP) for a 12 per cent increase in gas transportation capacity.

Stage two will add a further 13 per cent of capacity with an additional site on the SWQP and MWP. A potential third stage, which is currently undergoing design works, would add another three compressor stations on the MWP for a further 25 per cent transportation capacity.

Each compressor station is expected to take approximately nine months to build. Approval has been granted for the first two stages in Queensland and New South Wales, and management plans for Stage one are now underway.

Ongoing projects

Surat Gas Project

The Surat Gas Project is an ongoing coal seam gas development operated by Arrow Energy, that aims to commercialise the company’s gas reserves in the Surat Basin in Southern Queensland. With a 27-year lifecycle, the project will include 2,500 new wells and create an estimated 1,000 jobs, presenting vast opportunities for pump manufacturers.

The first phase of development began construction in 2020, with the installation of more than 600 wells expanding north and south from the project’s current operational areas. The wells will range between 150m and 750m in depth, with a production life between 15 and 20 years.

The gas from the production well will be transported to the facility through low-pressure gas gathering pipelines, while the gas between the compression and processing facilities will be transported by medium pressure gas lines.

A high pressure pipeline will transport gas from processing facilities to the off-take gas pipeline. This phase also included construction of inlet processing facilities at field compression stations, in addition to upgrades and connection to water treatment facilities.

New infrastructure will also be built at Arrow’s Tipton and Daandine water treatment plants to send water to the Kenya Water Treatment Facility. Two brine storage ponds will be built to support coal seam water treatment for a Beneficial Use Network, which is expected to be in place by 2023.

Future development phases include construction of two new field compression stations – one located at Lynwood, and another located at Girrahween.

The wells and gathering pipelines will be constructed near the compression stations, and in areas south of Wandoan and Cecil Plains. There are also plans to install two additional inlet processing facilities at Shell-operated Jammet and McNulty field compression stations.

Barossa Offshore Project

This planned offshore gas field is being developed by Santos and its joint venture partners, ConocoPhillips Australia Exploration and SK E&S Australia. The Barossa project will involve a floating, production, storage and offloading facility that will provide a new source of natural gas to the existing LNG facility in the Northern Territory.

Development of the Barossa project will involve the floating production storage and offloading facility, subsea production system, supporting infield subsea infrastructure and a gas export pipeline.

The floating facility will separate the natural gas and condensate with the dry gas through the export pipeline, before being processed onshore. Allseas Marine Contractors Australia will construct the proposed export pipeline, which will be approximately 260km long.

Development drilling is planned to begin mid-2022, with pipeline installation set to begin before the end of the year.

Amadeus to Moomba Gas Pipeline

The Amadeus to Moomba Gas Pipeline is a planned pipeline led by a joint venture between Central Petroleum, Macquarie Group and

Australian Gas Infrastructure Group. The $1.2 billion pipeline will run between the Amadeus Basin in the Northern Territory to Moomba, South Australia, and is expected to deliver 140TJ per day when operational.

It is planned to be 950km long and up to 16 inches in diameter, and will result in lower transport costs by halving the current distance that the natural gas has to travel. Construction was set to begin in 2022, with operations planned for 2024.

Upcoming developments

Crux project (Browse Basin)

Shell Australia and its joint venture partner, Seven Group Holdings Energy, have developed plans for a $2.5 billion Crux natural gas field off the coast of Western Australia.

The project consists of a remotelyoperated platform from the Prelude floating liquified natural gas (LNG) facility. Initially, five wells will be drilled, and an export pipeline of approximately 160km will be built to connect the platform to the Prelude facility.

The project is expected to supply up to 550 million standard cubic feet of gas per day to Prelude once it begins operations. Construction of the Crux project is expected to begin in late 2022, with production beginning in 2027.

Scarborough gas project and Pluto Train 2

Woodside and BHP are planning an expansion of its domestic gas infrastructure to increase capacity, in addition to an offshore Scarborough gas resource. In its initial phase, the Scarborough development will include the drilling of eight wells which are tied back to a semisubmersible floating production unit near the Scarborough field.

Woodside and BHP plan to expand the Pluto facility by constructing a second LNG train. The increased capacity will allow the facility to process third-party gas resources, including from the Scarborough project.

The second LNG train will support the facility and produce an expected eight million tonnes per annum of LNG, with a domestic gas commitment of around 180TJ per day for Western Australia. Bechtel has been selected as its engineering, procurement and construction contractor.

Woodside announced a final investment decision for the Pluto Train 2 Project in November 2021, and construction is scheduled for 2022.

The gas processed through Pluto Train 2 will be one of the lowest carbon intensity sources of LNG delivered to customers in north Asia, with first LNG cargo targeted for 2026. The project is expected to create 3,200 jobs during construction, and support 600 ongoing roles.

The Golden Beach Project

Offshore from Gippsland, the Golden Beach Project is set to produce gas for the domestic market for two years before transforming into an underground gas storage facility.

GB Energy received a Federal Government loan for the project in March 2022, with the 12.5PJ of storage to alleviate gas shortages in the coming years and help cap prices. The project involves the construction of pipelines which will connect natural gas from the Gippsland basin to existing  onshore infrastructure.

It will include two subsea horizontal wells approximately 3.8km offshore, as well as a compressor station, three pipelines and associated pipeline infrastructure.

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