Thylacine platform in the Otway Basin; Source: Beach Energy

Australian player sets wheels into motion for more subsea ops to bring two gas wells online

Beach Energy (Operations) Limited, a subsidiary of Australia’s oil and gas player Beach Energy, has submitted a revised environment plan (EP) to the country’s offshore regulator for subsea installation and commissioning activities off the coast of Australia. This will entail the installation of a replacement flowline to tie in two new wells and commissioning activities to connect them to the Otway Gas Plant, as well as the recovery of a failed flowline for appropriate disposal.

Thylacine platform in the Otway Basin; Source: Beach Energy

The National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) has confirmed that Beach Energy submitted a revised environment plan, proposing to undertake subsea installation and commissioning activities to replace the failed flowline in Phase 5 of the Otway Offshore Project in the Otway Basin in Commonwealth waters within T/L2 and T/L4, allowing the remaining two wells to be brought online, and recover as much of possible of the failed flowline.

Phase 5 of the Otway Offshore Project, which began in February 2023, included the tying in of four new wells in the Thylacine field to the Thylacine A gas production platform and the commissioning of these wells, based on the Thylacine subsea installation and commissioning EP, accepted by NOPSEMA in January 2023.  This covered subsea installation and commissioning activities at the Thylacine North-1, Thylacine North-2, Thylacine West-1, and Thylacine West-2 production wells.

The scope of the previously accepted EP encompassed the installation of rigid spools, manifolds, concrete mattresses, electrohydraulic umbilicals, production flowlines, and electrical and hydraulic flying leads while commissioning the newly installed equipment involved testing the spools, umbilical, and flying leads using monoethylene glycol and water. Come May 2023, the company connected Thylacine North 1 and 2 development wells to the Otway Gas Plant and started delivering gas into the East Coast market. 

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However, the commissioning of two remaining well connections, Thylacine West 1 and 2, was delayed due to a failure of a flowline during pressure testing. As a result of the delay, Beach Energy revised the EP to address the completion of the work as Phase 5b. The subsea installation and commissioning will be undertaken using a construction support vessel (CSV) within the Otway Basin in Commonwealth waters, approximately 65 km southwest of the Victorian coastline at its closest point (Cape Otway) and 70 km south of Port Campbell.

The Apollo Australian Marine Park (AMP) is located 50 km east of the activity area and the water depth at the proposed installation location is approximately 100 m. The installation and commissioning activity is expected to occur between 3Q 2024 and 4Q 2025 and will take around 14 days to complete, depending on sea state conditions and technical matters.

The Otway Offshore Project was kicked off in 2004 by Woodside Petroleum under a joint venture (JV) arrangement, with the first gas produced in mid-2007.  Beach Energy acquired the Otway Offshore Project assets in January 2018 and acts as the operator. This project continues the development of the Otway Basin natural gas reserves within existing Commonwealth offshore exploration permits and production licenses, ensuring ongoing production at the Otway Gas Plant, which supplies natural gas to Victoria.

The Thylacine field, located in Commonwealth waters at a depth of approximately 100 meters, is about 70 kilometers south of Port Campbell, Victoria. The activities for the Otway Offshore Project have run over several phases beginning with seabed assessments, and then drilling exploration and production wells in the Geographe and Thylacine gas fields, and installation of seabed infrastructure to support the tie-in of the wells to the existing Thylacine A platform and Otway Gas Production Pipeline (OGPP).

Beach Energy is working on various growth projects. The firm is now targeting the start of drilling operations at its development well off Taranaki towards the end of 1Q 2024. These activities will be carried out with one of Valaris’ heavy-duty modern jack-up rigs.

Meanwhile, Australian Energy Producers recently urged the Commonwealth to fix the broken offshore regulatory system after the logjam of energy supply and carbon capture projects awaiting approval was exposed.

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Plans have been tangled up in the approvals process for 562 days on average for exploration and 400 days on average for development as a result of regulatory uncertainty, following a Federal Court ruling last year.