Developing offshore petroleum resources

Wed 08 Jul

The Commonwealth-Western Australia (WA) Offshore Petroleum Joint Authority has granted the renewal of five Commonwealth retention leases which are earmarked for the proposed Browse Floating LNG (FLNG) project operated by Woodside. The Western Australian Government has made a similar decision in regard to the two State retention leases.

The decision on the Commonwealth leases was made jointly by the Federal Minister for Industry and Science, Ian Macfarlane, and Western Australian Minister for Mines and Petroleum, Bill Marmion. Mr Marmion made the decision to renew the State retention leases.

“This recognises the proposed project’s significant development potential and supports the Joint Venture’s investment decisions including its recent announcement to enter into the front-end engineering and design (FEED) phase,” Mr Macfarlane said.

The Australian and WA Governments have been working closely with the Browse project Joint Venture to ensure they have the right approvals and frameworks to allow the significant investment. This includes addressing questions over the impacts of new coastal waters boundaries in the Browse Basin.

“Our Governments are conscious of the need to ensure these valuable resources can be developed in a manner that is commercially viable and maximises benefits to the Australian community,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“The global gas market is increasingly competitive and governments and industry must continue to work together to ensure Australia remains an investment destination of choice for LNG supply to the burgeoning Asia-Pacific regional economy.

“The floating LNG technology proposed for this project is cutting edge and opens up new opportunities to develop gas resources that could otherwise be stranded - Shell’s landmark Prelude Floating LNG project will showcase this technology when it arrives in the Browse Basin in 2017.

“Minister Marmion and I expect that this decision to renew the Browse Retention Leases will support the Browse Joint Venture’s commitment to make a final investment decision on the project late next year, particularly now that the FEED phase has started.

Mr Marmion also highlighted the importance of timely development of petroleum resources to WA.

“The importance of the oil and gas sector to WA’s economy cannot be overstated,” Mr Marmion said.

“WA is committed to working closely with the Commonwealth to ensure the timely and efficient development of this resource which will deliver enduring benefits for all Western Australians.”

The retention leases include WA-28-R, WA-29-R, WA-30-R, WA-31-R and WA-32-R which cover the Brecknock, Calliance and Torosa gas-condensate fields. The Torosa field straddles both Commonwealth and WA state coastal waters and includes two WA retention leases TR5 and R2.