26 Offshore November 2017 • www.offshore-mag.com
Operators advancing LNG
projects offshore Australia
Chevron starts up Wheatstone
Despite escalating costs and production delays, three LNG projects offshore Australia have reached major mile- stones. Last month, Chevron Corp. pro-
duced first LNG at the Wheatstone project.
This involves development of the Wheat-
stone and Iago fields in the Carnarvon basin
offshore northwest Australia as well as two
LNG trains and a domestic gas plant. At full
capacity, the project’s two-train LNG facility will supply 8. 9 mtpa of LNG for export
to customers in Asia. The project features a
subsea gas gathering system tied back to a
processing platform in 70 m (230 ft) of water.
A 44-in. diameter, 225-km (140-mi) trunkline
transports gas from the platform to the LNG
facility located at Ashburton North, 12 km
( 7. 5 mi) west of Onslow. The first cargo shipment is expected soon. According to partner
Woodside Petroleum, an LNG tanker has ar-
rived at the Wheatstone marine terminal and
loading system commissioning is under way.
Loading operations will commence soon. The
LNG Train 2 is expected to start up in six to
The Chevron-operated Wheatstone LNG fa-
cility is a joint venture between Australian subsidiaries of Chevron ( 64.14%), Kuwait Foreign
Petroleum Exploration Co. ( 13.4%), Woodside
Petroleum Ltd. (13%), and Kyushu Electric
Power Co. ( 1.46%), together with PE Wheat-
stone Pty Ltd., part owned by JERA (8%).
When the final investment decision (FID)
was taken in September 2011, the project
was estimated to cost $29 billion and produc-
tion was scheduled to start in 2016. However,
in October 2016, Chevron reported that the
project’s cost had increased to $34 billion.
The operator said that part of the $5-billion
increase was due in part to the overheated
construction market at the time work began
on the project and the late module delivery.
The company also admitted that it had failed
to estimate the quantity of materials needed
for the project, in part brought about by taking
the decision to proceed when only 15% of the
engineering work had been completed. The
rest was based on rules of thumb and factors.
Hook-up and commissioning of the central
processing facility (CPF) and FPSO are under
way for the INPEX-operated Ichthys LNG
project in the Browse basin, 220 km (137 mi)
offshore Western Australia.
In May, the CPF Ichthys Explorer completed
the 34-day, 5,600-km ( 3,480-mi) tow from the
Samsung Heavy Industries shipyard in Geoje,
South Korea, and was connected to 28 pre-
installed mooring chains, weighing more than
25,000 tons, in 250 m (820 ft) of water. INPEX
claims this is the world’s largest semisubmers-
ible platform. It weighs 120,000 metric tons
(132,277 tons) and the topsides measures 130
m (427 ft) by 120 m (394 ft). The CPF is the
central hub for initial offshore processing of
all well fluids delivered from a 130-km (81-
mi) network of subsea well infrastructure.
Gas from the CPF will be sent through an
890-km (553-mi), 42-in. subsea pipeline to
the onshore LNG facility at Bladin Point near
Dar win for processing. Saipem performed the
pipelay, which is said to be the longest in the
Southern Hemisphere and the third longest
subsea pipeline in the world.
In August, the FPSO Ichthys Venturer
completed the 26-day, 5,600-km tow from the
Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering
shipyard in Okpo, South Korea, and was connected to 21 pre-installed mooring chains,
weighing more than 15,000 metric tons. The
336-m ( 1,102-ft) long, 59-m (193-ft) wide FPSO
is designed to hold 1. 12 MMbbl of condensate
and operate for 40 years without drydock.
Located 3. 5 km ( 2. 2 mi) away from the CPF,
the FPSO will process, stabilize, and store the
condensate delivered from the Ichthys Explorer
before periodically offloading it to tankers for
export to market.
INPEX and Total made the FID in January
2012. At that time, the project was estimated
to cost $34 billion and first production was
scheduled for the end of 2016. Now it is ex-
pected during the current fiscal year (ending
March 31, 2018). According to INPEX, the
Ichthys LNG project is expected to produce
up to 8. 9 MM metric tons per annum (mtpa)
of LNG and 1.65 MM mtpa of liquified petroleum gas (LPG), along with about 100,000
b/d of condensate at peak. Operator INPEX
holds 62.245% interest, Total ( 30.000%), CPC
( 2.625%), Tokyo Gas ( 1.575%), Osaka Gas
( 1.200%), Kansai Electric Power ( 1.200%),
JERA (0.735%), and Toho Gas (0.420%).
In July, Royal Dutch Shell’s first floating
liquefied natural gas (FLNG) facility reached
the Prelude gas field, 475 km (295 mi) offshore Western Australia. Constructed by the
Technip Samsung Consortium at the Samsung
Heavy Industries shipyard in Geoje, South
Korea, the Prelude is said to be the largest
offshore floating facility ever built. The 488-m
The FPSO Ichthys Venturer
is 336-m ( 1,102-ft) long
and 59-m (193-ft) wide.
(Image courtesy INPEX)