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    Australia's Sole Gas Project FID 'in March'


The Sole gas project offshore Victoria in Australia is expected to reach project sanction in March 2017 with first gas expected 2019.

by: Shardul Sharma

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Natural Gas & LNG News, Asia/Oceania, News By Country, Australia

Australia's Sole Gas Project FID 'in March'

Australian independent Cooper Energy announced February 27 that the Sole gas project has now advanced to the final stage and final financing process will start with a view to project sanction in March 2017 and first gas expected in 2019. It awarded Subsea7 a key contract for its development.

The Sole gas project involves the development of the Sole field in the Gippsland Basin, offshore Victoria to supply about 25 PJ (0.67bn m3) per year from 2019.  Cooper Energy is the 100% interest holder in Sole. 

“Finalisation of the field development plan, signing of heads of agreement with APA to own and operate the Orbost gas plant and achievement of gas contracting targets enable the final financing process to commence with a view to project sanction in March 2017,” the company said.

APA, Australia's largest gas infrastructure company, said in a separate statement that the HoA will help align the two companies in the development of Gippsland Basin gas projects to bring new sources of gas supply to southeast Australia.

Under the HoA, the two companies have agreed to exclusively negotiate APA’s acquisition, upgrade, and operation of the Orbost gas processing plant in conjunction with Cooper Energy’s development of the offshore Sole gas field. This will streamline the Sole gas project by separating funding, development and operating responsibilities for the gas processing infrastructure and upstream elements, while also encouraging the use of the Orbost Gas Processing Plant as a hub for other new gas projects such as the Manta gas field, APA said. 

Location of the Sole gas field in the offshore Gippsland basin (Map credit: Cooper Energy)

UK-based contractor Subsea7 said February 28 it had been awarded a ‘sizeable’ contract – which it defines as between US$50mn and $150mn –  for the Sole gasfield development project by Cooper Energy. It is for a subsea tie-back of the Sole well to the Orbost gas plant, including the fabrication and installation of 64km of pipeline and its installation and commissioning. The project will be managed by Subsea7’s Perth, Australia office.

Some reports said that a ban on onshore fracking in Victoria state has benefited the advancement of the offshore Sole project. 

Cooper also announced results for the six months ending December 2016: it made a loss of A$8.2mn, 76% less than its July-December 2015 loss of A$34.1mn; production was 24% lower at 1,050 b/d. It completed the acquisition of a 50% stake in Sole and the Orbost gas plant from Santos early 2017.


Shardul Sharma