Thursday, May 1, 2014

Woodside, Barnett agree on Browse base

Thursday, 1 May 2014
Noel Dyson

A SUPPLY base being established to support the floating LNG processing of Browse Basin gas looks more likely, with Woodside managing director and CEO Peter Coleman saying he supports it.

Putting a supply base in Western Australia was one of the conditions Premier Colin Barnett put on the state renewing the portion of the retention leases covering those gas fields that are within WA waters.

The rest of the retention leases are in Commonwealth waters.

Barnett sensationally told the recent Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association conference in Perth that if the Browse joint venturers wanted the retention leases renewed they had to commit to a supply base in WA and a domestic gas allocation.

Speaking after Woodside’s annual general meeting yesterday Coleman said the discussions the consortium had held with the WA government had been positive.

“We’ve had every indication that we’ll be able to work out all our issues with the state,” he said.

Coleman said Woodside had shared Barnett’s disappointment that an onshore LNG processing plant for Browse had not been feasible.

“We just had longer to get used to it,” he said.

Coleman said he too would like to see both the marine and helicopter bases needed to support the FLNG set up in WA.

“The premier has expressed a clear desire for a supply base to be in WA, we would support that,” Coleman said.

“Our first preference is to look for appropriate sites in WA, both for supply vessels and for helicopter operations.

“The Northern Territory is competitive to that but it’s not our first preference.”

However, Coleman is also keen to avoid the sort of difficulties Woodside encountered when it first considered putting an LNG plant on James Price Point in the WA Kimberley to process the Browse gas.

“Wherever we go we want to be welcomed by the community,” he said.

“We need to work with the state on how is the best way to work with communities to make sure the supply base is developed in the right way.”

In other words, if the state wants to keep the base in WA it has to smooth the way.

The NT has proven particularly adept at quieting community concerns when it comes to securing projects. Ichthys is proof of that.

There also seems to be some agreement on a domestic gas allocation, although Coleman said he wanted it to be “a business to business solution”.


  1. "Our first preference is too look for appropriate sites in WA both for supply vessels and for helicopter operations.

    "The NT is competitive to that, but it's not our first preference."

    So this means Broome port and airport?


    A lot of this is just like JPP gas plant.

    Ian Shearn's short documentary, When We Were Hela, investigates the Exxon Mobil liquid natural gas (LNG) project in Papua New Guinea. Financed by a record US government loan and plagued by a lethal landslide, police repression and unrest, the LNG project, which began producing gas this week, is allegedly yet to properly compensate locals. Shearn investigated the site in 2013. His full text piece appears at The Nation.


    ExxonMobil’s New Guinea Nightmare

    How a US government loan to the oil giant enabled an environmentally destructive project plagued by lethal landslide, police repression and civil unrest.
    Ian T. Shearn April 30, 2014

    Monday, January 23, 2012, was a routine day for 15-year-old Jackson Piwago. Like every other weekday, his father met him after school, and the two walked hand in hand back to their home in Tumbi, a small village in the remote, mountainous Hela Province of Papua New Guinea.

    There, at the foot of the Gigira Mountain Range, Jackson went about his chores: looking after the family’s pigs, collecting firewood, fetching water and cooking sweet potatoes. He chatted with some of his father’s nine wives, as well as his many brothers and cousins. As on most evenings, dinner was boisterous and joyful.

    Then, just as he did every night, Jackson fell asleep alongside his father, using his dad’s arm as a pillow. Jokoya Piwago, a prominent Ware tribal chief, recalled that night vividly in a recent conversation. He remembered his son imploring him, “Please, Daddy, buy me the bicycle that I need to go to school and come back…. Buy me a bicycle tomorrow.”

    Jokoya paused and said, “That’s the last word that he spoke to me.”

    Jokoya Piwago rose at sunrise on January 24. He was running late for work, and his ride was waiting outside. He woke up Jackson, then jumped into the car, shoes in hand. Minutes later, three loud, rapid-fire cracks filled the air. To some, it sounded like the discharge of an AK-47 rifle. Other villagers said it sounded more like a thunderclap. No one could find words to describe the sound that immediately followed.

    It was the sound made by 2 million tons of boulders, limestone, water, mud and trees roaring down from the top of Tumbi Mountain. It was the sound of homes being buried by the landslide, which after only a few minutes had created a debris field a kilometer long, several hundred meters wide and 100 meters deep.

    At least twenty-seven people sleeping in their homes died instantly, according to a lawsuit filed by the victims’ families. Twelve of them, including Jackson, were in Jokoya’s family. A precise death count is unknown—no bodies were ever recovered.

    The landslide emanated from a quarry operated by a subsidiary of ExxonMobil, Esso Highlands Limited. Since 2010, EHL had been mining limestone for the construction phase of Papua New Guinea’s $19 billion Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project. The quarry—which, according to local residents and a former member of the country’s Parliament, had been mined sporadically by other operators for several decades without incident before ExxonMobil’s arrival—was part of a massive endeavor that involved drilling wells for gas extraction and the construction of hundreds of miles of pipeline, storage facilities, processing plants and even an airstrip.

    next ›
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    5 pages.

  3. “Our first preference is to look for appropriate sites in WA, both for supply vessels and for helicopter operations.

    “The Northern Territory is competitive to that but it’s not our first preference.”


    There's Derby : (maybe just for helicopters)

    "3. Expressed Interest from the Private Sector (investors) and Gas Producers regarding
    a possible Transfer Station to Mining and Offshore Gas Fields
    Discussions have been on-going with the offshore gas sector regarding potential
    passenger transfers from Derby to Offshore rigs consistent with current arrangement
    to occur to support the offshore industry in the Gascoyne (Learmonth air base) and
    Pilbara (Karratha Airport). Facilitating a new rotary wing passenger terminal to support
    offshore transfers will be of significant benefit to the region and attracting private
    investment to facilitate this is critical.
    Derby Airport is seen to have a number of strategic advantages to the present
    operation out of Broome to support exploration. These include:
    1. Location to Derby – The site is only 8km away so easily accessible and
    serviceable by the community. It is however located sufficiently far away
    and in a suitable location so as not to have any short or long term impact on the amenity of Derby. This will allow uninhibited operations 24/7 to meet
    industry requirements. Broome is however restricted in its operations due to
    proximity to residential areas which would likely force emergency/ urgent
    repair activity to operate from a second base which would be either Derby
    or Curtin leading to duplication of infrastructure

    2. Capacity for Single Day Transfers – Industry has indicated it may be possible
    to transfer offshore staff from Perth to Rigs in a single day via Derby given
    its slightly improved proximity to the gas fields and ability to operate 24/7.
    Broome operations presently require an overnight stay for staff on their way
    through which is a significant cost to business operations. Furthermore, the
    ease of accessibility and proximity of Derby to the rigs has identified
    opportunities to explore possible ‘fast cat’ marine transfers from Derby
    Wharf via Derby Airport. This practice, now being employed in other
    international major gas fields allows for much larger scale passenger
    transfers offshore compared to the 6-8 person capacity of helicopter

    The Shire of Derby/West Kimberley (Shire)
    submission to the Joint Select Committee on Northern Australia


    There's Broome : (maybe just for tenders)

    "Derby is not included in the matrix comparison as it has been identified as an inappropriate site for a
    supply base. The main reason for this is the extensive dredging operations that would be required
    and the negative effect on the sensitive mangrove environment surrounding the area. None of the
    stakeholders indicated that they perceived Derby as the preferred site.
    Based on the matrix, which is not weighted and does not quantify cost or economic benefits, Broome
    is ranked highest for the preferred site for a supply base. This is primarily because Broome has
    existing infrastructure, workforce and businesses that currently support offshore activity. Broome is
    not an ideal site for a supply base due to a number of issues. However, Broome is presently the only
    available facility in the Kimberley region that can provide support facility services and is the only option than can cater for the urgent timing requirements for oil and gas projects planned for offshore
    construction in the short term future out of the contending sites. Workable solutions have been
    identified for the current port, land and infrastructure to be adequately upgraded for an effective
    supply base at Broome."


    Any heavy work that could not be done through Broome port could go through Darwin.

  4. Point Torment & James Price Point


    The infrastructure requirements for a supply base are extensive and taking advantage of existing
    infrastructure would significantly reduce the capital needed to construct a supply base.


    Point Torment is ranked second in suitability for an oil and gas supply base, according to the matrix
    scoring. The site is attractive for its large undeveloped land areas. The community support from
    Derby is very strong. The main issue for the site is its location within King Sound and the potential
    constraint for vessel passage through the entrance to King Sound, Sunday Strait, due to strong tidal
    currents. While access through Sunday Strait is currently restricted to slack tides at daylight, it has
    been identified that there is potential for navigation to be significantly less constrained. Contrasting
    opinions exist regarding the safety of passage. It is noted that there have been no recorded incidents
    through the Sunday Strait since records began in 1912. Some investigations have been performed
    into the navigability of Sunday Strait and King Sound which suggest that 24/7 operation at Point
    Torment is possible, based on available information. However further studies would be required to
    clearly demonstrate that King Sound and Sunday Strait are navigable taking into account supply base
    logistics, vessel types, vessel numbers and risks.
    King Sound has wide, deep channels, and the Sunday Strait, in particular, is 3 km wide. These are
    usually favourable characteristics for navigation and vessel maneuverability. However, considering
    sea states in conjunction with the logistics of a supply base and potential multiple oil and gas users,
    there is the potential for a bottleneck to form at Sunday Strait.

    If 24/7 shipping movements suitable to operation of a supply base were found through investigations
    to exist, it is expected that extensive works would be required in installing navigation aids through the
    Strait and the approach to Point Torment.
    The remoteness of the site and being a Greenfield project however means large capital costs.. As per
    Broome, the wharf and jetty configuration proposed for Point Torment, which is the same as that
    shown in the 2007 GHD report for a marine and industrial support facility, does not allow for a land
    backed wharf. The implied double handling and the distance between the wharf and supply base
    would constrain rock and other heavy bulk load out operations.


    The matrix ranks James Price Point as the third preferred site for a supply base. A Heads of
    Agreement was made on the 27 April 2009 for James Price Point to be the site of a LNG precinct. It is
    understood that a further agreement would be required for the site to be developed as a multi-user
    supply base supporting offshore development. Despite scoring third in this assessment, there would
    be good synergies for a multi-user supply base to be integrated with a LNG precinct to provide for the
    similar requirements of onshore and offshore projects. Potential synergies with existing Broome
    operations are also good. Such synergies were not accounted for in the scoring matrix.

    The site rated
    less favourably than the other sites due to the large construction works involved for a breakwater and
    dredging of an access channel to construct a port that can be operated 24/7. Hard rock is likely to be
    encountered close to shore which makes dredging and wharf construction more difficult. The coastal
    site is exposed and has greater risk for construction downtime from cyclones and storms.

  5. Broome to serve as air, sea and land hub for Prelude

    GLENN CORDINGLEY Broome Advertiser

    March 25, 2013, 9:18 am

    Broome will play a vital role in serving the multi-billion dollar Prelude floating liquefied gas field project — from flights and ships and to providing temporary hotel accommodation for more than 100 FIFO workers.

    Energy giant Shell last week said well drilling would soon begin in the Browse Basin, about 470km km off the Broome coast.

    The town will serve as a logistics, aviation and shipping base for the project.

    A large compound near the wharf is currently being used to store massive pipes that will be shipped out and used as part of the drilling, which is expected to start by mid-year.

    Broome Port Authority will accommodate vessels and shipping equipment for the site and Broome International Airport will be used as the aviation base for about 150 FIFO contractors.

    The crews will be flown to and from the rig by helicopter on a rotational basis — meaning there will be about 10 of the in town daily on average at any one time during production.

    Shell was uncertain of drilling rosters.

    Taxi and bus services would also be required to transport them between the airport and the wharf.

    The Noble Clyde Boudreaux drilling rig is planned to complete the development of seven production wells for Prelude.

    Three platform supply vessels will support the rig from town.

    Broome International Airport chief executive Nick Belyea welcomed Shell establishing its aviation base in Broome and “to be operating through the town’s world class heliport”.

    “The flow of offshore workers and others connected with the FLNG will certainly assist Broome to retain its airline schedules which in turn not only benefits Broome and the wider Kimberley community but other industries such as tourism which is struggling in the current climate,” he said.

    Port of Broome chief executive Vic Justice said the project would lead to more local jobs and bolster the local economy.

    “We welcome the business and employment opportunities that will result from this project on an extended basis,” he said.

    Broome Chamber of Commerce and Industry said it hoped the appeal of the town would lead to some FIFO workers calling Broome home.

    Chamber chief executive Mary Ann Petersen said she expected this would minimise the negative effect of FIFO workers and provide long-term economic and social benefits to town growth.

    Shell Australia’s general manager production Michael Schoch said the floating LNG facility was expected to be on site and operating by 2017.

    It is expected to deliver the first gas production from the Browse Basin and be one of a growing number of oil and gas projects that will use Broome as a base for exploration and development in the immediate region.

    “Prelude’s operations will provide job and business opportunities for people in the Kimberley over its 25-year life, whilst having a minimal impact on the environment,” he said. “We have two full-time project staff working in Broome at the moment in addition to Shell’s fuel terminal staff, with a number visiting Broome to work on a regular basis.

    Mr Schoch said the project was providing contract logistics jobs, with numbers likely to increase with Shell’s activities ramp-up in town.

    Prelude Floating LNG
    ■ Shell awarded exploration permit in the Browse basin in 2006.
    ■ Prelude gas field found in January 2007, then Concerto gas field in March 2009.
    ■ The relatively small Prelude and Concerto gas fields are ideal for development using Shell’s floating LNG technology.
    ■ Final investment decision taken by Shell board in May 2011.
    ■ Once operating, capacity 3.6 million tonnes per annum of LPG, 1.3mpta of condensate and 0.4mtpa of LPG.
    ■ Broome will be the aviation and port base for the project

  6. It should be a very interesting selection process with Barnett still insisting on his grand plan for JPP and the oil and gas companies going for the best and cheapest option.

    Obviously the helicopters don't need to fly from the same place as the tenders operate.Derby is about 90 klms closer to Prelude than Broome so I guess a return flight to Woodside FLNG would be 180 klms shorter from Derby.

    For heavy wharf work that needs a land backed wharf there is the option of sharing a supply base in Darwin.

    The rest could be done from Broome.

    Barnett's argument Broome wharf has no room for laydown areas is nonsense as long term areas can go anywhere (most of the time is consumed by unloading and loading - travel is easy).

    Oh well here we go again.

    Hopefully the work can be split with Derby and Darwin and Broome can hang on to some times of peace and quiet.


    Tribute to Mr J. Roe - Hommage à Monsieur J. Roe

    Published on Apr 4, 2014

    A great man has just suddenly passed away. Not just a great man, a leader, a warrior against injustice, a protector of life. An example that inspired many of us... and will inspire future generations. He is the man who inspired the movie Heritage Fight. We cry his disappearance. But we are thankful of having met him because what he left within us will never vanish. R.I.P.

  8. Save the Kimberley


    An open letter to the people of Broome

    Recently, Premier Barnett announced that the State had compulsorily acquired land at James Price Point, for his beloved gas hub. He told us that he would do “whatever it takes” to develop this site. We all remember that he selected it himself.

    He has talked like this many times before.

    The State has twice bungled the compulsory acquisition process. Even if there were no mistakes this time, there is no clear path forward for the Premier and ‘his’ development.

    The Premier knows the only purpose for which the land at James Price Point can be used is an onshore processing precinct for gas from the Browse Basin. Woodside just spent more than $1.5 billion proving that this is not feasible.

    Right now there is no plan, no proponent and no financial backing for any development at JPP. The State government is not going to build anything.

    The Premier knows that now that Woodside has pulled out and the Goolarabooloo–Jabirr Jabirr claim has split, there is no one to negotiate with about the changes to the Browse agreements and the Browse (Land) Agreement Act 2012, which must be implemented before a supply base can be built without an onshore processing facility. (Footnote 1)


    Footnote 1: On the withdrawal of the GJJ native title claim and the Browse PPA – see Augustine v Western Australia at especially at [172]-[174]


    The Premier says that JPP is “project ready”. He would know that ‘his’ development does not have environmental approval under State or Commonwealth law, and that any new proponent will have to seek fresh authorisation under the Aboriginal Heritage Act to destroy the sites, the country and the law at Walmadan. Most, if not all, of the Browse Basin tenement holders have voluntarily adopted human rights standards to guide their business activities throughout the world. Those companies know that they cannot build a gas hub at this location without seriously compromising those standards.

    The Premier wants us to believe that when the Supreme Court handed down its decision on the faulty EPA approval process of the proposed James Price Point precinct in August this year, it was just a technicality.

    This is just not true. The Supreme Court drew a line through the assessment process itself. (Footnote 2)


    Footnote 2: The Supreme Court decision on the environmental approvals is The Wilderness Society of WA (Inc) and Richard Hunter v Minister for Environment [2013] WASC 307 – especially at [178], [222]-[224], [227]-[229]


    The Court found that there was never a quorum of the EPA at any meeting between 12 November 2009 and 1 March 2012. Through these periods, panel members with conflicts of interest remained active in progressing the assessment, when according to law, they were prohibited from participating. The strategic assessment reports were significantly influenced by decisions made during this period, as the State admitted in the proceedings. The Supreme Court concluded that even though the EPA’s decision was handed to the Minister after those with conflicts of interest had stepped down, the EPA decision was inextricably related to the work done throughout this lengthy process. Therefore, the Court ruled that the EPA’s assessment was completely invalid. They ruled that there has been no valid environmental assessment of the proposed industrial development at James Price Point – how’s that for a technicality?

    From Save the Kimberley – a cross section of the Broome community.