21/05/2008 - 22:00

North Sea expertise on tap

21/05/2008 - 22:00

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The oil and gas industry is a major contributor to Australia’s economy, generating estimated revenue of $33.6 billion in 2007, mostly out of Western Australia.

North Sea expertise on tap
Migration: Australia is the 18th largest producer of natural gas in the world.

The oil and gas industry is a major contributor to Australia's economy, generating estimated revenue of $33.6 billion in 2007, mostly out of Western Australia.

According to Austrade, in 2006- 07 the industry accounted for about 3.8 per cent of Australia's total gross domestic product, with liquefied natural gas the nation's biggest export.

Australia is now the 18th largest producer of natural gas, the seventh largest exporter of LNG in the world, and the third largest LNG exporter in the Asia-Pacific region, Austrade figures show.

While high growth is forecast for the country's LNG sector, with exports expected to rise significantly from 7.8 million tonnes in 1999 to 20mt by 2010, many overseas oil companies are also looking to establish themselves in Australia.

As revealed in WA Business News last week, about 70 UK and Norwegian companies have established operations in WA in the past 10 years, as oil reserves on the North Sea begin to decline.

Oil and gas cities from opposite shores of the North Sea, such as Stavanger in Norway and Aberdeen in the UK, are forging links in WA to tap into lucrative offshore markets.

Leak detection specialists BJ Process and Pipeline Services (BJ PPS) is one such company to branch out of Aberdeen and set up base in Perth to service Australia's gas fields.

The Canning Vale-based business this month completed a commissioning contract for oil and gas experts Technip Oceania Pty Ltd at the Otway Gas Processing Plant, located about 70 kilometres south of Port Campbell, offshore Victoria in southern Australia.

The project is being developed by Woodside Energy Ltd.

BJ PPS has supplied nitrogenhelium leak detection services on process piping and vessels associated with the Otway plant and the remotely-operated platform located offshore.

BJ PPS general manager Lindsay Link said it was an important project for the company to be a part of as Technip Oceania's development of the Thylacine and Geographe gas fields is expected to supply up to 10 per cent of south-eastern Australia's demand for natural gas.

BJ PPS has also been retained by Technip Oceania to provide pipeline maintenance and support services on a call-out basis.

Over the life of the Otway project, the Thylacine and Geographe gas fields are expected to produce 950 billion cubic feet of raw gas (or 885 petajoules of natural gas), 12.2 million barrels of condensate and 1.7mt of liquid petroleum gas.

In 2004, Technip was awarded the Otway project contract in which Woodside has a 51.55 per cent working interest.

Otway partners are Origin Energy Resources Ltd (29.75 per cent), Benaris International (12.7 per cent) and CalEnergy Gas (Australia) Ltd (6 per cent).

At the time of winning the Otway contract, Technip chairman Daniel Valot said the project was an important step in the company achieving its commitment to strengthen its presence in Australia.

"The group has been very active in this area for more than 10 years, mainly in the offshore pipeline business," he said.

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