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Shell CEO Peter Voser visits Canberra and Perth


Santos joins party with Browse find

Matt Chambers

August 14, 2009

SANTOS has shifted its liquefied natural gas focus to the west coast, announcing a potentially big find in the Browse Basin, off Western Australia.

The company, which is one of the leading proponents of exporting Queenland’s coal-seam gas as LNG through Gladstone, yesterday said it had discovered gas at its Burnside well, 450km off the coast of Broome.

Santos would not be drawn on the size of the find, but the fact it announced it to the stock exchange and said it would do further work to determine its commercial significance indicated it had LNG potential. The find is close to a number of recent discoveries, including Inpex’s Ichthys, Shell’s Prelude and Concerto and ConocoPhillips and Karoon’s Poseidon.

Drilling encountered a 65m gross gas column in a low permeability, or tight, sandstone interval, Santos said.

Santos owns 49 per cent of the field, with Chevron, Inpex and Beach Petroleum also having stakes. Yesterday, Santos shares rose 48c to $14.86.

The find comes a week after Shell made a new find, named Concerto, less than 100km northeast of Burnside.

Shell, which was recently declared the world’s biggest company, is looking at developing its first floating LNG plant from gas at the nearby Prelude discovery, and now possibly Concerto.

Illustrating the growing importance Australia is taking in Shell’s portfolio, newly installed chief executive Peter Voser has been visiting Canberra and Perth in recent days.

As well as Prelude, Shell is a one-quarter partner in the $50billion Gorgon development, which is expected to be given the green light next month.

It also has interests in Woodside Petroleum’s planned Browse Basin and Sunrise LNG developments and a 33.75 per cent stake in Woodside following a failed 2001 takeover attempt.

Mr Voser met with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and federal Resources Minister Martin Ferguson in Canberra, and West Australian Premier Colin Barnett and Woodside chairman Michael Chaney in Perth.

Mr Barnett is aggressively pushing for the non-operating partners of the offshore Browse field, which include Shell, Chevron, BP and BHP Billiton, to back Woodside’s preferred plan to develop the field through a Kimberley region LNG plant.

The partners are reluctant to do so and are leaning towards piping the gas to the North West Shelf LNG plant at Karratha when reserves there run low. and its sister non-profit websites,,,,,, and are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia feature.

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