Woodside signals LNG expansion

Woodside's plans to expand its LNG operations.

Woodside's plans to expand its LNG operations.

Following yesterday’s announcement of a $2.5 billion fundraising scheme for a majority stake in the Scarborough gas field, Woodside is looking to expand its LNG presence.

Woodside has agreed to buy ExxonMobil’s 50 per cent stake in Scarborough for up to $744 million, which would take Woodside’s stake up to 75 per cent, with part of that due pending a final investment decision (FID) on developing the field.

According to the West Australian, the move could see the explorer invest upwards of US$12.5 billion on developing its Scarborough and Browse gas fields, located off the coast of northwest Western Australia.

Woodside CEO Peter Coleman has set a 2020 final investment decision (FID) deadline on Scarborough development, while pushing back the Browse FID slightly to 2021.

He said a majority stake in the Scarborough field would significantly de-risk development of the field.

“That’s why it’s jumped to the front of the queue,” Mr Coleman told the West Australian.

“It’s a significant turning point in Woodside’s journey, [and] it puts us on a tremendous growth pathway, giving us access to a world-class asset.

“It also makes us very relevant in a global marketplace today and will in the future based on the equity gas we’ll be selling.

“We’ll also be a significant player in the new wave of LNG coming into the market.

“We’re a couple of years away from having to make hard decisions on which one gets into market first.

“Those concerns about multiple projects and so forth can be dealt with over the course of the next couple of years.

Woodside plans to pipe 6 MMt/a of gas from the Scarborough field to its Pluto LNG Plant in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

It also plans to pipe 10 MMt/a from the Browse field 900 km to the North West Shelf (NWS) Joint Venture’s Karratha Gas Plant via the offshore North Rankin platform.

Finally, Woodside has outlined plants to connect the Karratha and Pluto plants via on shore interconnector at a capacity of 4.5 MMt/a to process gas from the offshore Pyxis project.

The Scarborough asset areas include the Scarborough, Thebe and Jupiter gas fields, which are estimated to contain gross 8.7 Tcf of dry gas resources.

ExxonMobil’s affiliate, Esso Australia Resources Pty Ltd, is currently the operator and owner of 50 per cent of the Scarborough gas field in a joint venture with BHP Billiton (25 per cent) and Woodside (25 per cent).

Discovered in 1979, the Scarborough field is located off the coast of Western Australia approximately 220 km northwest of Exmouth in 900 m of water.

Woodside abandoned plans for a FLNG development for the Browse field in March 2016 in favour of a potential 1,000 km subsea pipeline from the field to Woodside’s facilities on the NWS.

Participants in the Browse Joint Venture include Woodside (30.6 per cent) as operator, Shell Development Australia (27 per cent), BP Developments Australia (17.33 per cent), Japan Australia LNG (MIMI Browse) Pty Ltd (14.4 per cent) and PetroChina (10.67 per cent).

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