World-class project on track

6. Castorone webINPEX’s giant Ichthys LNG Project made significant progress towards production last year, with construction now 64 per cent complete and on schedule.

Half of the project scope was completed on 25 June last year, marking the first official construction milestone less than two-and-a-half years after the final investment decision was made – a significant achievement of a project of its scale, the company stated.

“Achieving 50 per cent means overall we have completed half of the project’s physical fabrication and construction work,” INPEX president director Australia Seiya Ito said.

“For INPEX this is a major step towards the successful start-up of our flagship Ichthys LNG Project, which, with an operational life of at least 40 years, is integral to realising our medium to long-tem vision for growth.”

Ichthys LNG Project managing director Louis Bon said building one of the world’s largest resources developments had its challenges and the construction milestone was a credit to the team.

“We have every confidence in our people and our contractors to deliver Ichthys as planned,” Mr Bon said.

“With first production a little more than two years away, our operations team is working hard to prepare for start-up and commissioning, and we remain absolutely focused on successfully delivering the second half of this world-class project.”

On completion, the project – offshore WA in the Browse Basin, with an 889km pipeline to onshore facilities in Darwin – is expected to produce 8.4 million tonnes per annum of LNG, 1.6mtpa of LPG and more than 100,000 barrels of condensate per day at peak.

The halfway point marked construction of the concrete wall casting for two LNG storage tanks, installation of key LNG equipment, mechanical infrastructure, jetty structure, the arrival of more than 200 onshore modules, and integration of the lower turret with the project’s floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) facility.

The lower 4200 tonne, 31m turret arrived from Singapore in early November and was inserted into the hull of the FPSO, which is currently under construction in South Korea. The lower turret is one of three components and, when assembled, it will stand at 85m – making it one of the largest in the world.

Ichthys LNG project offshore director Claude Cahuzac described the turret as one of the most technically complex pieces of project equipment.

“Almost everything that will enter or leave the FPSO will do so through the turret – through chemical injection lines, transfer lines or control and power cables that provide it with fluid, gas and power from the nearby central processing facility,” Mr Cahuzac said.

“The turret also provides the semi- submersible FPSO with its mooring system – with mooring line connecting directly to the turret and not the facility – so that it can withstand cyclonic weather conditions.”

The FPSO will process and store condensate from the central processing facility, periodically offloading stabilised condensate to shuttle carriers for export directly to the market.

November marked the arrival of the first christmas tree system from Scotland – a necessary component in the completion of the project’s development wells. It was a significant achievement, as each structure weighed 100t and featured the latest technology to meet specific requirements.

“Following inspection and pre-deployment testing at GE’s Jandakot facility, the christmas tree systems will be handed over to the drilling team and installed as part of the project’s upcoming production drilling campaign,” Mr Bon said.

Ichthys is set to continue delivering impressive milestones this year including lifting the first central processing facility and FPSO topside modules onto their respective hulls; installation of mooring piles for the offshore facilities; completion of the concrete roofs for both LNG storage tanks, and finalisation of the gas export pipeline (GEP) installation.

In February 2015, the project’s state-of-the-art deep water installation vessel Castorone began the deepwater pipelay for its GEP – a significant step to the connection of onshore LNG facilities to the Ichthys field. Major works were undertaken in and around Darwin Harbour to reach this point, including dredging, landfall civil works, rock quarrying and transportation and marine cable crossings.

To date, more than $10 billion has been invested into the project – a joint venture between INPEX, Total, CPC Corporation and the Australian subsidiaries of Tokyo Gas, Osaka Gas, Chubu Electric Power and Toho Gas.

Northern Territory companies have received $5.2 billion worth of contracts during the construction phased, with $50 million going to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses.

“New business opportunities, major new and improved infrastructure are other benefits being delivered locally,” an INPEX spokesperson said.

“From the outset we have been committed to maximising job and business opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across the project. To date, more than 550 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have been employed on the project.”

In December 2014 the project was approximately 64 per cent complete and on track to commence production by the end of 2016, INPEX stated.

“The Ichthys Project also plays an integral role in INPEX Corporation’s efforts to achieve its medium to long-term vision, which is founded on doubling production volume to one million barrels of oil equivalent per day by the early 2020s,” an INPEX spokesperson stated.

“The ‘crown jewel’ in this strategy, the Ichthys Project has doubled INPEX’s oil and gas reserves and, when fully operational, it will increase production volumes by around 50 per cent.”