Thylacine platform in the Otway Basin; Source: Beach Energy

Beach Energy secures the go-ahead to bring two more gas wells on stream

Beach Energy (Operations) Limited, a subsidiary of Australia’s oil and gas player Beach Energy, has received the green light for a revised environment plan (EP) from the country’s offshore regulator, entailing subsea installation and commissioning activities off the coast of Australia.

Thylacine platform in the Otway Basin; Source: Beach Energy

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 The National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (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.

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. 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 National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority has accepted Beach Energy’s revised environment plan for 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 as possible of the failed flowline.

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 while the first gas was produced in mid-2007. 

Beach Energy, which acquired the Otway Offshore Project assets in January 2018, 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 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.

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The development drilling for Phase 2 entails up to two new wells at the existing Kupe wellhead platform, some 30 km off Manaia in South Taranaki.