One of Australia’s biggest projects surges ahead

australiaIT is one of Australia’s most expensive energy projects, operated by one of the world’s biggest energy companies, and is set to be operational for 40 years: the $33 billion Ichthys project led by oil and gas giant INPEX is undeniably huge.
The Ichthys field is in the Browse Basin, 200km offshore WA, and is estimated to contain 12.8 trillion cubic feet of gas and 527 million barrels of condensate, making it the biggest discovery of hydrocarbon liquid in Australia for 40 years.
INPEX drilled three wells in 2000 and 2001 that showed potential and in September 2008 the company announced Darwin would be the LNG plant’s home. A final investment decision was made in 2012 and the rest is history.

A joint venture between operator INPEX (63.4 per cent), Total (30 per cent), CPC Corporation (2.6 per cent), Tokyo Gas (1.58 per cent), Osaka Gas (1.2 per cent), Chubu Electric (0.74 per cent) and Toho Gas (0.42 per cent), the Ichthys project will involve piping gas 889km from the field to a liquefaction facility at Blaydin Point near Darwin.

Once operational, the project was expected to produce 1.6 million tonnes per annum of LPG and about 100,000 barrels per day of condensate. The majority of the condensate – about 85,000bpd – will be processed offshore and exported from the field.
The Blaydin Point LNG gas processing plant will comprise two LNG trains with a capacity of 8.4 mtpa and about 100,000bpd of condensate.

The joint venture entered into a trade agreement with both Japan and Taiwan where about 70 per cent and 1.74mtpa of gas would be sold respectively. Now, after taking big steps towards project start-up, the project has sprung to life from the planning pages. Progress The year has so far been fruitful for INPEX’s Ichthys project, and each month brings the joint venture closer to realising its goal of production in 2016.
To mark the beginning of 2013 and the start of the fabrication process, first steel was cut in Korea for the mammoth semisubmersible platform and the floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel’s turret.
The 150m by 110m central processing facility (CFP) will displace 140,000t and have a maximum gas export rate of 1657 million square cubic feet per day.
INPEX president director Australia Seiya Ito said the start of fabrication was an exciting time.

“This is one of the most exciting parts of the project – the first materialisation of what has been many years of hard work; it’s when the design comes to life,” he said. “The CFP hull size is nearly at the limit of what the biggest shipyards can build in their dry docks today.
“It will be moored by 28 mooring lines, representing more than 25,000 tonnes of anchor chain.”
Mr Ito said the total amount of anchor chain represented more than the yearly worldwide production.
“This has been a momentous week for the Ichthys LNG project as it takes its first bigstep towards reaching its goal of watching the facilities sail from Geoje (Island in Korea) to Australia in late 2015,” Mr Ito said at the cutting ceremony.
Furthermore, in June this year the first steel was cut for the hull of its FPSO facilityin Korea.

INPEX said in a company statement that “with fabrication of the hull underway, work on all of the project’s major offshore facilities has commenced”, which included the central processing facility, subsea structure and the gas export pipeline.
“It marks the culmination of years of engineering work and close collaboration with our contractors,” INPEX Ichthys LNG project director offshore Claude Cahuzac said.
“It is fantastic to celebrate this milestone, on schedule, as we work towards delivering first gas by the end of 2016.”

Once complete it would be moored in the Browse Basin during the entire life of the project and would have the capacity to store about 1.2mmbbls of condensate.
The joint venture signed shipbuilding and shipping contracts for two new vessels that would offtake and deliver LNG from the project to Japan and Taiwan.
A 155,300 cubic metre carrier would offtake 900,000t of LNG per year while a second 182,000cum vessel would operate as a time charter to deliver to CPC Corporation in Taiwan. The project would need three LNG tankers and one LPG tanker to export gas through Darwin Harbour and one or two condensate tankers each month, according to INPEX.

In mid-August, workers began arriving at the purpose-built Howard Springs accommodation village to build the Blaydin Point LNG plant.
By the end of October the village will be home to 1000 workers and at the peak of construction in 2015 it would house about 3500 people.
The first phase of construction at Howard Springs was complete, and comprised a reception area, pool, gym, basketball courts, a dining area, medical centre, cyclone shelter, recycling plant and cinema.