Photo: Minerva Gas Plant; Source: Cooper

Cooper Energy and Mitsui commit $55M for Minerva gas plant upgrade

Australia’s Cooper Energy and partner Mitsui Group have committed $55 million to upgrade the idle Minerva gas plant which will allow the supply of 16 petajoules of so far undeveloped gas.

To remind, Cooper Energy and Mitsui took possession of the Minerva Gas Plant in December 2019.

Since then the front-end engineering and design work have been completed to support the final investment decision (FID) to upgrade and connect the plant to process gas produced from the existing Casino, Henry, and Netherby offshore fields in the VIC L24/L30 permit areas.

Minerva, Cooper, Henry, and Netherby map; Source: Cooper
Minerva, Cooper, Henry, and Netherby map; Source: Cooper

Cooper Energy and Mitsui will invest $37 million to upgrade the plant and have spent $17.8 million purchasing the plant and on front end engineering and design work and care and maintenance.

In a statement from Monday, Cooper Energy managing director David Maxwell said: “This investment decision represents an important milestone in Cooper Energy’s continuing growth as a safe, competitive, efficient and reliable developer, and marketer of new gas supplies for homes and businesses in south-east Australia”.

According to Cooper, the infrastructure works at the Minerva Gas Plant will enable the supply of 16 PJ of currently undeveloped gas.

The investment follows the successful exploration program by Cooper Energy and Mitsui Group resulting in the Annie-1 gas discovery, in the Otway Basin, the first offshore discovery in south-east Australia over seven years”, Maxwell said.

The project will draw gas from four offshore wells – Casino-4, Casino-5, Henry-2, and Netherby-1 – into the Minerva plant via a pipeline tie-in and minor modifications. The company claimed that this would improve recovery enabled by lower plant inlet pressure and provide the ability to offer customers a firm supply.

Following the completion and performance testing, first gas is expected within the September quarter 2021 with this expectation incorporating allowances for uncertainty from COVID-19 as it is presently understood. Delays due to the pandemic are still possible though.

Also, the Minerva Gas Plant will be renamed as the Athena Gas Plant in recognition of the expansion to its role from a dedicated plant to the now depleted Minerva gas field to a hub for supply from existing offshore Otway gas fields and future discoveries.