Exxon Closes in on Gorgon LNG Deal with PetroChina

According to a report from Dow Jones Newswires, ExxonMobil is close to finalizing an agreement to sell 2 million tons of LNG annually from Australia's massive Greater Gorgon project to PetroChina.

"We are actively pursuing a number of market opportunities in key customer countries to market our share of Gorgon gas," said a Exxon spokeswoman, keeping the customer list private. "Negotiations regarding market opportunities for our share of Gorgon gas remain ongoing."

In November 2008, PetroChina secured 2 million tons a year of Gorgon LNG from Shell. Additionally, PetroChina has inked LNG deals with Woodside on the Browse project, and with Qatargas and Shell on the Qatargas 4 project.

Greater Gorgon

With an estimated 40 Tcf of natural gas, Greater Gorgon is located offshore northwestern Australia. These massive assets are being converted to LNG by the Gorgon JV, which includes the Australian subsidiaries of Chevron (operator with 50%), ExxonMobil (25%) and Shell ( 25%).

Located about 43 to 87 miles (70 to 140 kilometers) off the northwestern coast of Western Australia in the Carnarvon Basin and on the Northwest Shelf, the Greater Gorgon area incorporates a number of gas fields in waters ranging from 722 to 4,265 feet (220 to 1,300 meters).

Spanning the offshore blocks of WA-18-R, WA-267-P, WA-268-P, WA-25-P, Greater Gorgon incorporates various gas discoveries in the area. In addition to the massive Gorgon gas field (discovered in 1981), Greater Gorgon includes the wildcat wells of Geryon-1 (1999), Orthrus-1 (1999), Urania-1 (2000), Maenad-1 (2000), Jansz-1 (2000), Iago-1 (2001), Io (2001) and Chandon-1 (2006), among others.

Field Development

Upstream development plans for Greater Gorgon include subsea completions for both the Gorgon and Jansz fields. These subsea developments will be tied-back to the onshore Barrow Island LNG plant via pipelines and control umbilicals.

Each well brought into production will have a subsea tree and surface-controlled subsurface safety valve installed. The trees will then be connected to a cluster, which can accommodate up to eight wells. These clusters will then be connected to production centers on the fields via well jumpers.

Subsea development on the Gorgon field includes two production centers in the first phase. One center will accommodate six subsea wells, and the other will be able to accommodate four subsea wells. A 6-kilometer infield flowline will be constructed to connect the two production centers.

Development on the Jansz field includes one production center that will be able to accommodate up to six subsea wells.

Up to 30 subsea wells will be drilled on the Gorgon and Jansz fields during their production lives. As pressure and production decline from the Gorgon and Jansz fields, other fields in the Greater Gorgon area will be tied into the gas processing facility through subsea systems. The lifetime of the Greater Gorgon project is estimated to span 60 years.