BHP confident about North West Shelf expansion plans

Jul 25, 2000 02:00 AM

Australia's BHP is confident that expansion plans for Australia's massive North West Shelf project can be put in place sometime this year with the oil and gas field joint venture partners close to finalising a Liquid Natural Gas supply deal with Japanese based utilities.
"At the moment the North west shelf venture is in very serious discussions with the Japanese utilities and with other customers," said BHP Petroleum President Phil Aiken. "And I feel quite confident that an expansion can be announced some time in the not too distant future" Aiken added. When asked if an announcement on the project can be expected during calendar 2000, Aiken replied: "I hope so".

The North west Shelf project is Australia's largest resource development, with a total investment of about A$ 12 bn. The fields, located about 150 km north-west of Western Australia, supply gas for the domestic gas market, LNG for export to Japan. The project also produces crude oil from the three oil and gas fields.
BHP has a 16.7 % stake in the LNG consortium. The other partners with equal 16.7 % stakes include Woodside Petroleum, BP Australia, Chevron Asiatic, Shell Australia and Japan Australia LNG.

Aiken said the successful completion of the discussion would allow the customers to commit to signing a letter of intent for a fourth LNG supply train to Japan. Meanwhile, Aiken said he was confident that the technology existed to further develop ultra deepwater Gulf of Mexico oil and gas fields. He said the company's assets in the Gulf of Mexico are large enough to rival the declining Bass Strait fields, located of the Victorian coast.
However he said the Bass Strait fields still have at least another 10 years of production left in them. "Bass Strait is not going to disappear but we want to continue to grow the business and we'll keep on looking for opportunities to not just replace Bass Strait but even make BHP Petroleum a larger company. "
Aiken also said the low cost ZamZama gas supply in Pakistan is expected to come on stream mid-next year and this will produce about 70 mm cfpd of gas. "Our (Pakistan) discovery is very close to existing pipelines and that will come on stream fairly quickly and we'll see how the market develops from there," he said.
BHP is scheduled to release its final results for the 13-months to June. Analysts expect the resource major to deliver a net profit of more than A$ 2 bn.

Source: Bridge News via Newspage
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