Gas Week

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Gippsland Basin oil: deposits $300bn in Fed Govt coffers over 40yrs; ExxonMobil confident much more to come

Posted by gasweek on 9 October, 2007

In the 40 years since the discovery of oil in Bass Strait, the Gippsland Basin operation has deposited $300 billion (in today’s money values) in Federal Government coffers, according to independent model­ling – and there was a lot more to come, wrote Keith Orchison in The Australian (29/9/2007, p.9).Aus self-sufficiency: Mark Nolan, chair of ExxonMobil Australia, said it was confident that there were 20 more years of production ahead. The country’s largest oilfield, Kingfish, continued to be an important contributor and has already deliv­ered more than a billion barrels. The Kingfish, Halibut (oil) and Barracouta (gas) discoveries by what was then Esso Exploration Australia and its joint venturer, now BHP Billiton, generated huge excitement in the late 1960s, transforming Australia’s oil supply situation from almost complete depend­ence on imports to substantial self-sufficiency. At the time, crude oil was our most costly import.

Jobs and revenues: The Bass Strait fields, with subsequent discoveries, have yielded more than 3.5 billion barrels of oil (556 billion litres) and almost six trillion cubic feet of natural gas – nearly 63 per cent of Australia’s oil production and almost 30 per cent of cumulative gas produc­tion. The fields were among the most profitable in the world for the two resource giants. Modelling of the economic value undertaken by Econtech for ExxonMobil estimated that the Gippsland operations have added about $2.2 billion annually to Australia’s GDP (in inflation-adjusted terms) and stimulated more than 50,000 jobs in Victoria.

Huge investment, too: The development has demanded massive investment, and not only by ExxonMobil and BHP Billiton. Econtech calculated that the average annual capital outlay by other busi­nesses stimulated by the Bass Strait projects over four decades has been $700 million (inflation-adjusted), or 1.5 per cent of Austral­ian capex spending. There were now 18 offshore platforms and three subsea facilities in Bass Strait carrying oil and gas to shore at Longford, near Sale, through 1000 kilometres of onshore and offshore pipelines. Consequently, at Barry Beach there was a construction site for offshore platforms and a marine supply terminal for a fleet of drilling vessels and supply boats.

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

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