This follows an agreement reached between Woodside and BHP in February 2020 to align their participating interests across the WA-1-R (Scarborough) and WA-62-R (North Scarborough) titles, resulting in Woodside holding a 73.5 per cent interest and BHP a 26.5 per cent interest in each title.
The Scarborough project, led by Woodside, is a key part of the company’s $52 billion Burrup Hub vision, which aims to become a global hub for production and exports of Australian liquefied natural gas (LNG).
Woodside chief executive officer Peter Coleman said the Scarborough joint venture intends to accept the production licences, demonstrating the strong commitment to take the project forward.
“The impacts of COVID-19 and the ensuing volatility in market and investment conditions have provided us with an opportunity to review options for the Scarborough development, allowing us to improve execution certainty and increase the value of this world-class resource,” Coleman said.
“With production licences and the offshore project proposal environmental approval in place, Woodside will have secured the key primary Commonwealth approvals required to support a final investment decision.”
Following acceptance, the Scarborough JV will advance its application for a pipeline licence and submission of the field development plan to the joint authority, in readiness for a targeted final investment decision in the second half of 2021.
In April 2020, the Scarborough offshore project proposal – the primary Commonwealth environmental assessment document for the Scarborough project in Commonwealth waters – was accepted by the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority.
In addition, retention lease renewal applications in respect of the WA-61-R and WA-63-R titles for the Thebe and Jupiter fields (part of the Greater Scarborough gas resource) were submitted to the joint authority in May 2020 and are currently under assessment.
Federal Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt added that the production licences offered by the offshore petroleum joint authority were a significant milestone and would generate thousands of new jobs and supply gas for use in Australia and for export.
“Developing Scarborough, through expansion of the Pluto LNG facility, is expected to create more than 3,200 jobs during the construction phase, and an average of more than 1,300 jobs a year during operations,” he said.
“The project will also help maintain Australia’s position as one of the world’s largest LNG producers whilst contributing to domestic gas supply and supporting our economy.”
The Scarborough gas field contains an estimated contingent resource (2C) dry gas volume of 11.1 Tcf.