INPEX energises Australia’s resources sector with US$34 billion LNG investment

INPEX Corporation is Japan’s largest oil and gas exploration and production company. The business is leading a US$34 billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) extraction project off Western Australia called Ichthys that is the largest investment in Australia by a Japanese company. The Ichthys project represents the largest discovery of hydrocarbon liquids in Australia in nearly 50 years.

Australia: The destination for Japan’s largest-ever overseas investment

The Ichthys liquefied natural gas (LNG) project that will contribute to Australia becoming the world’s leading exporter of LNG is one of the most exciting and challenging projects developed here.

With an operational life of at least 40 years, the project is expected to produce up to 8.9 million tonnes of LNG and 1.6 million tonnes of LPG per annum, along with more than 100,000 barrels of condensate per day, at peak.

Managed from INPEX Corporation’s Australian head office in Perth, the project holds the distinction of being the first Japanese-operated LNG project in the world and the largest-ever Japanese overseas investment. Furthermore, it has received the largest-ever financing for a project – A$20 billion.

Located about 220 kilometres off Western Australia, the giant, gas-condensate–rich Ichthys field is estimated to contain more than 12 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of gas and 500 million tonnes of condensate.

The volume and value of these gas and condensate reserves are viewed as critical to Japan’s long-term energy security. Japan is the world’s largest LNG importer.

Large-scale construction of advanced processing and storage facilities

The Ichthys project has required the construction of some of the world’s biggest and most advanced facilities. Two of these facilities will be permanently moored offshore – the Central Processing Facility (CPF) and the Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) facility.

Construction of the CPF and FPSO on the world’s largest semi-submersible platform has been completed in South Korea and the facilities have been towed to the Ichthys field at Browse Basin off the coast of Western Australia.

About 2,000 workers, 20 vessels and two floating vessels are involved in installation, hook-up and commissioning projects, which will take place in the Browse Basin, approximately 450 km from Broome, Western Australia.

An 890-kilometre subsea gas pipeline has been constructed that will unite the offshore facilities with a massive, state-of-the-art onshore gas processing plant near Darwin in the Northern Territory. This pipeline was constructed using more than 70,000 tonnes of steel and coated in 550,000 tons of concrete.

All subsea equipment has been installed, with Broome used as a major support hub for helicopters and supply vessels. Broome is also supporting a campaign that will see 20 wells drilled into 2019 and 30 additional wells added during the life of the project, which will provide a sustainable boost to the local Kimberly economy.

The Ichthys project makes a significant contribution to the sustainable economic development of Australia, particularly the Northern Territory and Western Australian economies.

The project continues to support the development of Darwin as the gateway to Asia for Australian industry, and concluded Australia’s first long-term LNG sales and purchase agreement with Taiwan in 2012.

Billions of dollars in economic contributions

Beyond its export potential, the project has contributed more than A$16 billion to the Australian economy in the construction phase alone, with more than A$9 billion flowing into the Northern Territory economy as a result of project activity.

The Ichthys Industry Participation Plan supports Australian and local participation, contributing to industry development to grow workforce capability and capacity. More than 1,000 Northern Territory businesses and over 11,000 Darwin locals have secured work supporting the project’s construction phase alone.

Sixty Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses have been awarded over A$130 million in contracts, while more than 1,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders have been engaged to perform Ichthys-related work.

Furthermore, A$9 million in investments have been made at Charles Darwin University’s Northern Australia Centre for Oil and Gas and the NT Distance School of Education, complementing a range of community partnerships.

Project managed from Perth

The Ichthys project adds to INPEX Corporation’s rich portfolio of investments in Australia’s oil and gas sector. The business has partnered with companies such as Shell to deliver the Prelude floating LNG project and the Coniston and Van Gogh oil field developments operated by Quadrant Energy.