Australia’s oil and gas industry has enjoyed an eventful start to 2021, with liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports increasing and Arrow Energy announcing new development plans across its Surat Basin permits in Queensland.
Outlined in EnergyQuest’s monthly LNG report, the industry has also managed two incidents within weeks of each other at the Ichthys project offshore northern Australia.
“On 7 February, a tanker loading condensate moved out of position when the static toe pulled the vessel from its support, with the tanker subsequently jack-knifing to 90 degrees,” EnergyQuest outlined.
“The Australian Workers Union stated the hawser separated with the emergency release coupling dropping the hose off the reel, still connected to the tanker. The quick release valve shut off flow and there was no oil spill or injuries to personnel.”
This incident came a week after a serious incident which occurred on the Maersk Deliverer drill rig at the Ichthys gas field.
“Drilling was shut down after risers fell onto the drill floor and then overboard while being lowered into place. The risers, which weigh 23 tonnes each, provide a connection from the well head blowout preventer to the rig, and transport hydrocarbons and mud during drilling,” EnergyQuest added.
“The National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) has launched an inquiry, although it is unknown at this stage what equipment failed or what cause is behind the incident.”
The Arrow Energy JV between Shell Australia and PetroChina, which originally planned to drill just six wells, has upped its intentions to include an additional 280 wells across its Hopeland petroleum lease (PL253) at the Surat gas project (SGP).
“It comes about nine months after Arrow made a final investment decision to develop the SGP which will supply gas from its fields to the QCLNG joint venture, where Shell is the operator,” EnergyQuest reported.
“The initial 286 wells are part of a broader campaign to drill 2600 new gas production wells over 16 production licences designed to extend supply of gas to Arrow’s Daandine and Tipton processing facilities and Shell’s QCLNG project to the west.”
EnergyQuest’s report further highlighted that Australian projects shipped 6.7 million tonnes (Mt) during January, an increase on the 6.5 Mt in December, following increased production at the Pluto project and the restart of the Prelude project in Western Australia.
In Western Australia, the Pluto project shipped seven cargoes comprising 533,000 tonnes, compared with the five cargoes comprising 381,000 tonnes in December.
“January production on an annualised basis was 6.3 Mt, 128 per cent of nameplate capacity of 4.9 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) and 153 per cent of contracts (4.1 Mtpa). Seven Pluto cargoes were delivered in January, with three to Japan, two to Korea, and one each to China and Taiwan,” EnergyQuest reported.
Prelude FLNG shipped two cargoes in January of 136,000 tonnes after shipping no cargoes in December due to operations restarting after an 11-month delay.