Woodside to moore three Shell-type FLNGs on Browse
Woodside Petroleum (Woodside) and its partners, Shell, BP, Mitsubishi-Mitsui (MIM), and China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC or PetroChina) are setting up the benchmark for the development of the natural gas fields offshore Western Australia in confirming the decision to deploy a fleet of three floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) vessels on the Browse project.
It took less than five months, since the no-go decision made on April 13th 2013 on Browse original conceptual design based on a conventional offshore platform, export pipeline and onshore LNG trains to adopt the FLNG concept.
This no-go decision had been forged when Woodside and its partners were observing the costs and schedule of the other similar LNG projects on Western Australia running out of control under the accumulation of the giant projects in front of permanent shortage of human resources for the engineering and construction work.
From the original budget, the last estimations for Browse conventional execution were bubbling to $40 billion capital expenditure on first quarter 2013, causing the project to stop in this configuration even before the final investment decision (FID) planned on June 2013.
In Browse, Woodside and its partners share the working interests such as:
– Woodside 31.3% is the operator
– BP 17%
– MIM 14.7%
Since Shell had increased its stake in the Browse project, the FLNG option came up to Woodside and the other partners, BP, Mitsubishi-Mitsui and PetroChina, as a realistic alternative to the original design.
Technip appointed to provide FLNG feasibility study
In August 2013, Woodside and its partners appointed Technip to perform a quick feasibility study to deploy FLNG vessels on Browse project since it covers three gas fields Brecknock, Calliance and Torosa.
Located 425 kilometers from James Price Point in Western Australia where the onshore LNG plant was supposed to be established, these three fields are estimated to hold:
– 15.5 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas
– 417 million barrels of condensate
Considering that the Retention Lease approved by the Australian Government is imposing to Woodside and its partners the deadline of December 31st 2014 to start Browse development, limited additional time is left to rework the feasibility study and front end engineering and design (FEED) of the project.
In this context, Woodside and its partners Shell, BP, Mitsubishi-Mitsui and PetroChina are planning to deploy three FLNG in phases with the first vessel to be in production in 2020 and the next units to be moored 15 months later each.