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Lloyds List: MEO plans offshore LNG project for Timor Sea

MEO Australia has created an alternative project offshore northwest Australia to commercialise the large untapped gas resources in the Timor Sea, writes Martyn Wingrove.

The Australian-listed companyhas plans to build the world’s first offshore liquefied natural gas production plantin the Tassie Shoal area off theDarwin coast in order to turn untapped gas into a marketable product in Asian markets.

Worley Parsons has designed an LNG plant and associated storage and export facilities that can sit on offshore platforms, while MEO has gained state and federal-commonwealth environmental approvals.

These plans may be accelerated this year as MEO and London-listed engineering group Petrofac are preparing to drill two appraisal wells in permit NT/P68 around the Heron gas discovery in September.

They have ordered Seadrill’s jack-up rig West Atlas to drill one well on Heron and the other on the nearby Epenarra structures over the fourth quarter before the two companies look at development options.

The LNG plant is competing with a proposed offshore methanol plant for the Tassie Shoal gas development, described in detail in Lloyd’s List June 7.

It is unclear yet whether both offshore developments could be build adjacent to one another, or whether one is preferred over another by the energy companies.

The LNG plant plans involve a production module, which can generate 3m tonnes per annum.

This unit would stand on a self-installed platform designed by Arup Energy Production in 16 m of water, according to the plans.

Adjacent to this there could be a concrete gravity-based structure with a storage tank capable of accommodating 170,000 cu m or 78,000 tonnes of LNG and this tank could be linked to a gas flare and export jetty.

MEO plans to use Air Products’ dual mixed refrigerant technology to manufacture LNG as this will reduce the size of the LNG plant.

The gas supply for the LNG plant orthe methanol project could come fromthe Heron field, where MEO believesthere could be more than 5trn cu ftof reserves, and the Evans Shoal gasfield that lies in the adjacent permit NT/P46.

There are other gas fields in the Timor Sea that are undeveloped at present and may be seen as future satellites to an offshore LNG plant.

For a decade Shell has been considering floating production options for the Sunset and Troubadour gas fields.

Published: Jun 14, 2007

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