Cooper, APA Ink Agreement to Fix Oz Orbost Plant
Australian gas infrastructure company APA and Cooper Energy have signed an agreement to work together to complete the commissioning of the Orbost gas processing plant (OGPP), and start supply to Cooper’s gas customers as early as possible, the two companies said on August 20.
The agreement supplements the existing project documents, and sets aside potential claims and entitlements available to either party. It also provides for the sharing of costs and revenue whilst OGPP commissioning proceeds towards completion. The agreement is subject to the support of Cooper’s financiers.
APA managing director Rob Wheals said the agreement "provides a practical commercial way forward for both entities to ultimately deliver much needed additional gas to south-east Australia.”
The OGPP start up has been delayed as the rates achieved are yet to meet the 68 terajoules/day (64mn ft3/day) required by the plant production test. The gas plant, which is owned and operated by APA, is being commissioned to process gas from Cooper’s Sole gas field offshore Victoria for supply to customers in south-east Australia. Completion of plant commissioning will enable the start of the field’s term supply contracts and processing tariff payments by Cooper to APA.
“Commissioning has taken much longer than could have been envisaged," Cooper managing director, David Maxwell, said.
The OGPP has maintained stable supply of 40-45 terajoules/day and Sole has supplied a total of 3.5 petajoules into the market to date. However, foaming in the absorber vessels of the sulphur recovery unit of the OGPP has impaired the gas processing capacity, the companies said.
“Root cause analysis to identify the cause of the foaming has been ongoing since April 2020 with involvement of the OGPP technology provider. APA has conducted minor plant modifications to improve performance. Further modifications are planned for later this month. Planning is also underway for Phase 2 works to increase gas processing capacity, which will include the flexibility to reconfigure the two absorber vessels from a sequential to a parallel arrangement,” the companies said.
A six-day plant shutdown is planned to conduct minor plant modifications. It is expected the shutdown will start on August 30.