Preparing to process at Red Gully

Empire Oil and Gas Managing Director Craig Marshall during flaring at the Red Gully-1 well.

Empire Oil and Gas Managing Director Craig Marshall during flaring at the Red Gully-1 well.

Since the ‘back-to-back’ discovery of gas and condensate at two exploration wells in Western Australia, Empire Oil and Gas and its joint venture partners have decided upon and begun construction of the Red Gully Gas and Condensate Processing Facility, which will supply gas to Alcoa and condensate to BP.

In December 2009, a joint venture consisting of operator Empire Oil and Gas (68.75 per cent), ERM Gas (21.25 per cent), and Wharf Resources (10 per cent) made a gas and condensate discovery at the Gingin West-1 well, located in EP 389 in WA. Gingin West-1 flowed at a stabilised rate of 7.5 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) of gas and 375 barrels per day (bbl/d) of condensate.

This was shortly followed by another discovery at the Red Gully-1 well in February 2011. Red Gully-1 flowed at a stabilised rate of 12 MMcf/d of gas and 832 bbl/d of condensate. Both wells flowed naturally from the Jurassic-aged Cattamarra Coal Measures ‘D’ Sand, with Red Gully-1 boasting the largest gas flow rate from an onshore well in the Perth Basin from the Jurassic.

Given the high demand for gas in Australia, particularly in WA, the EP 389 Joint Venture decided to develop the Red Gully Gas and Condensate Processing Facility.

Designing to specifications

The project is located within EP 389 in WA’s Perth Basin, 18 km north of Gingin. The initial facility design will treat up to 10 MMcf/d of gas and up to 500 bbl/d of condensate, and there is provision for future expansion of the facilities to process up to 20 MMcf/d of gas and 1,600 bbl/d of condensate.

The facility is designed specifically for the condensate-rich gas featured in these two wells, and to meet the specifications for entry into the Dampier to Bunbury Natural Gas Pipeline (DBNGP), for which Empire has established a 20-year agreement. A 3.2 km, 102 mm diameter yellow jacket coated steel pipeline will be hot-tapped to the DBNGP, with this pipeline having the capacity to transport up to 30 terajoules (TJ) per day of sales gas, to cover future expansion.

Empire Oil and Gas Managing Director Craig Marshall says that the main challenge associated with the project so far has been the need for the facility’s design to suit the DBNGP specifications.

“Otherwise the gas and condensate is sweet, with no problematic metals, such as CO2 or hydrogen sulphide,” he explains. “As part of the condensate processing process, Empire has included a flash gas compressor and other items to ensure there are no LPGs (volatiles) in the condensate. The design is built purposely to meet both the specifications for the DBNGP and BP Kwinana Refinery.”

The joint venture has both a forward gas sales contract as well as a gas sales contract with Alcoa to supply a total volume of 15,000 TJ of gas in two tranches. At the time of writing, a contract to sell condensate to BP was also being finalised.

Mr Marshall says this is just the beginning, and that the joint venture has also identified potential additional reserves in structures in close proximity to the facility. “These are estimated to be up to 205 billion cubic feet of gas and
9.2 MMbbl of condensate,” he says.

Construction-related activities commenced in August 2012, with commissioning planned for January 2013.

Contractors involved in Red Gully

  • Facility design – Momentum Engineering
  • Earthworks – Lenane Holdings
  • Export compressor and flash gas compressor supplier – Enerflex
  • Gas engine power supply – Energy Power (Caterpillar)
  • Pipeline construction – Thistle Fabrication
  • Facilities construction – Primero Group.

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