Gas Week

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No CO2 dumps in Bass Straight: ExxonMobil and BHPB already at work beyond Kipper from a new platform linked to its existing Marlin structure

Posted by gasweek on 5 October, 2007

According to Keith Orchison, in The Australian, (29/9/2007, p.9) ExxonMobil and BHPB were already at work on the next project beyond Kipper — the development of the Turrum field, estimated to hold 800 billion cubic feet of gas, from a new platform linked to its existing Marlin structure.

Plenty of gas: First gas production is planned for 2011. “There are substantial gas resources remaining in the Gippsland Basin,” said Mark Nolan, noting that the joint venture has added enough gas to its reserves in the past three years to power a city the size of Adelaide for two decades. “We are now planning to begin a comprehensive evaluation of gas potential deep under our existing fields.”

Natural gas boost from ETS: Underpinning the focus on gas is a significant change to the political climate: green-house gas abatement, a major issue for all sides of politics. “Gas,” Nolan said, “can produce up to 70 per cent fewer emissions than coal in power generation.” As the major political parties were committed to introducing an emissions trading scheme from 2011-12, natural gas will be a big beneficiary of charges imposed on energy users and power stations.

Basin CO2 dump “risks”: When carbon capture and sequestration becomes commercially viable, the Gippsland Basin operators might also stand to gain from systems that will deliver liquefied carbon dioxide from power stations for storage in depleted oil and gas wells. Rob Young, ExxonMobil Australia government affairs adviser, is cautious, however, about this prospect. “Gippsland Basin certainly has potential as a storage site for carbon dioxide,” he said, “but the re-injection of CO2 into or near operational oil and gas fields also presents significant risk and integrity issues to personnel, production and infrastructure. These risks may not be manageable from either a technical or a cost perspective. “Ongoing analysis is needed before the commercial and technical viability of any CCS project in the basin can be determined. Enthusiasm for the possibilities needs to be tempered by an acknowledgement that broad improvements in performance, cost and integ-rity of CCS systems and component technolo-gies requires much further research.” He said the company has advised the Co-operative Research Centre for Greenhouse Gas Technologies on a feasibility study for storage of carbon emissions in the Gippsland Basin and, with Chevron and Shell, is also participating in a similar investigation in Western Australia as part of the development of the large Gorgon LNG project. Young says suggestions that depleted reservoirs will be available in the Gippsland Basin by 2015 are “overly optimistic”. A timeframe of 2025 or later would be more realistic, he says, and even this would depend on how successful the joint venture is in extending the production life of its fields.

The Australian, 29/9/2007, p. 9

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