Browse rides the progress wave

Senior representatives of the Browse joint venture, along with Federal Minister for Industry and Science Ian Macfarlane and Western Australian Minister for Mines and Petroleum Bill Marmion, at the signing of the Commonwealth retention leases.

Senior representatives of the Browse joint venture, along with Federal Minister for Industry and Science Ian Macfarlane and Western Australian Minister for Mines and Petroleum Bill Marmion, at the signing of the Commonwealth retention leases.

Woodside’s long-awaited Browse FLNG Project has seen a string of contracts awarded since entering front-end engineering and design in July.

A key principles agreement between the Western Australian (WA) government and the Browse FLNG Project joint venture in June 2015 officially opened the door for floating LNG (FLNG) technology to be utilised for the development of the offshore Brecknock, Calliance and Torosa gas fields.

The deal will see Browse committed to providing gas supplies equivalent to
15 per cent of production from the state’s share of the Torosa gas field, resulting in around 60 TJ/d of gas from Browse, or approximately 800 PJ over the life of the project, being set aside for the state, with the obligation to coincide with first production from the Torosa gas field.

Commenting at the time, WA Premier and State Development Minister Colin Barnett said the agreement “ensures that the project will deliver benefits to the state in terms of domestic gas and opportunities for local businesses and workers.”

The Commonwealth–Western Australia Offshore Petroleum Joint Authority has also thrown its support behind the project, renewing its five Commonwealth retention leases, alongside the project’s two state retention leases being renewed.

“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 FEED phase,” Federal Minister for Industry and Science Ian Macfarlane says.

“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 FLNG Project will showcase this technology when it arrives in the Browse Basin in 2017.”

After originally proposing the onshore Browse LNG Development near James Price Point, Western Australia, Woodside determined that the development concept did not meet the company’s commercial requirements for a positive final investment decision in April 2013.

In light of the principles agreement, the Browse joint venture, which includes Woodside as operator, along with Shell Development Australia, BP Developments Australia, Japan Australia LNG (MIMI Browse) Pty Ltd and PetroChina, agreed to commence the front-end engineering and design (FEED) phase of the project on 30 June 2015.

The FEED phase will involve finalising costs and technical definition, taking into account the composition of gas, local weather conditions and factors specific to the project’s gas fields to enable a final investment decision (FID), targeted for the second half of 2016.

Shell Australia Country Chair Andrew Smith says the move into FEED was a positive step for the project.

“The Browse gas fields are a significant national resource, and this announcement is a clear step forward,” Mr Smith says.

“The project remains challenging given the remoteness of the resource and the complexity of the development. Shell looks forward to working with its JV partners through the FEED process.”

Mr Smith says the JV’s decision to enter FEED is a vote of confidence in the advantages offered by Shell FLNG technology, which is currently being used in the construction of the Prelude FLNG Project.

As for who’s doing what during the FEED phase, the Technip Samsung Consortium was the first off the mark, with two contracts awarded to the consortium by Shell on behalf of the joint venture, covering FEED elements and the engineering, procurement, construction and installation (EPCI) of the three FLNG units, subject to the FID at the end of the FEED phase.

Additionally, Cameron and Schlumberger subsidiary, OneSubsea, will employ up to 20 locals to work on the project’s subsea scope over the next 12-18 months, with the company’s life-of-field facility in Kewdale, WA, to play a key role.

Wood Group Kenny (WGK) will also perform all design engineering for the insulated production flowline system required for the asset’s offshore fields as part of a 12-month contract, to be delivered from WGK’s Perth office.

The award follows WGK’s successful delivery of the preliminary engineering for the Browse flowline system during the basis of design phase.

Given the recent progress on the Browse FLNG Project, Woodside is continuing to have ongoing discussions with a range of regional LNG customers for potential sales.

However, the current surplus of LNG in the Asian market is providing an additional challenge to the Browse joint venture, as Queensland’s LNG projects – the Australia Pacific LNG (APLNG) Project, GLNG Project and Queensland Curtis LNG (QCLNG)
Project – begin exports.

LNG 18
Ahead of the FID, due in the second-half of 2016, both Shell CEO Ben van Beurden and Woodside Managing Director and CEO Peter Coleman, who says the joint venture is excited to be moving into the next phase of the Browse FLNG Development using FLNG technology, will feature as plenary speakers at the International Gas Union’s (IGU) International Conference & Exhibition on Liquefied Natural Gas.

With the event to be held in Perth on 11-15 April 2016, both speeches are sure to be of particular interest for the international gas community.

The four-day program will also include plenary sessions, workshops, exhibitions, a stand-alone poster session, technical tours to world-leading LNG facilities, city tours as well as opening and closing ceremonies and receptions.

Over 5,000 participants from around the world – including delegates, exhibitors, accompanying persons and trade visitors – over 250 exhibitors from over 60 countries are expected to attend LNG 18.

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