Woodside Petroleum has joined US major Chevron in three new exploration blocks off the north-west coast that are ideally placed to supply gas into the Pluto LNG project or other existing LNG infrastructure in Western Australia.
Both companies, which are 50:50 partners in the permits, emphasised cooperation as the way forward to find an economical way to commercialise any gas found, using the more than 46 million tonnes a year of existing LNG production capacity on the coast.
However Chevron, which operates the permits, and Woodside, each operate rival LNG plants in the area which would be competing to process the gas. The acreage covers 23,170 square kilometres in the northern Carnarvon Basin.
Woodside chief executive Peter Coleman is pushing to have third-party gas processed through the North West Shelf venture, and also is seeking gas to expand Pluto. Chevron, meanwhile, has talked up its new Wheatstone venture as a third-party gas processing hub, and also operates the monster, $US54 billion Gorgon project on an island off the coast.
“This acreage adds significant inventory to Woodside’s Carnarvon Basin portfolio and provides further optionality for future resource development through existing infrastructure,” Mr Coleman said of the latest acreage award.
Chevron’s head in Australia, Nigel Hearne, said partnership with other players “is going to be crucial for ongoing investment in Western Australia’s resource sector and to maximise the value of the available resources and infrastructure for the benefits of local jobs, companies and energy security.”
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