Inpex gets nod for Ichthys field renewal

JAPANESE LNG giant Inpex has been given the all clear to continue exploration and production across permit WA-285-P offshore northern Western Australia, the permit that contains the offshore Ichthys field.
Inpex gets nod for Ichthys field renewal Inpex gets nod for Ichthys field renewal Inpex gets nod for Ichthys field renewal Inpex gets nod for Ichthys field renewal Inpex gets nod for Ichthys field renewal

Paul Hunt

Senior Journalist: Energy & Commodities

Paul Hunt

Inpex is the operator of WA-285-P alongside its Ichthys joint venture partners Total and a variety of minority holders. The permit lies to the south of Shell's Prelude FLNG project in the Browse Basin. 

WA-285-P contains the production license WA-51-L where the Ichthys gas-condensate field is located. It is currently considered an exploration permit. 

The gas and condensate field lies in 280m deep water.  

The Ichthys Field is estimated to contain more than 12 trillion cubic feet of gas and 500 million barrels of condensate.

On Friday, the National Offshore Titles Administrator (NOPTA) formally approved a renewal of the permit. It was initially granted in 1998, but under the renewal will remain active until June 2025.

In January, this year Halliburton was awarded drilling contracts for the next phase of field development within the permit. 

The drilling campaign was expected to start in March and take three years to complete; however, COVID-19 and the general economic outlook forced Inpex to push back plans. 

Earlier this month Inpex undertook a major refinancing for its Ichthys project, renegotiating financial arrangements with seven export credit agencies and 28 commercial banks to improve its borrowing rates underpinning exploration within the permit. 

Inpex has around US$15.6 billion worth of loans for Ichthys. Of this, US$8.3 billion was refinanced.

While Inpex owns 30% of the permit, Total holds a 26% interest, while the remaining interests are shared between minority holders; CPC Corporation Taiwan, Tokyo Gas, Osaka Gas, Kansai Electric Power, JERA and Toho Gas.