Six large petroleum developments – five of them operated by Woodside Petroleum – account for almost $8 billion of this amount, according to latest statistics released by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE).
The largest of these projects is Western Australia’s $2 billion North West Shelf extension project, which involves building a fifth liquefied natural gas processing train to produce an additional 4.2 million tonnes of LNG per year. Currently under construction, the fifth train is due for completion toward the end of 2008.
Also in the state, three new Carnarvon Basin offshore oilfield developments – Enfield, Vincent and Stybarrow – are expected to add about 280,000 barrels of crude oil production capacity.
Of these three projects, the $1.48 billion Enfield discovery is the most advanced, with first production expected in the next one or two months. At full capacity, Enfield is forecast to produce 100,000 bbl of oil per day.
The $980 million Vincent development and the BHP Billiton-operated Stybarrow project, worth $A817 million, are expected to begin production in 2008.
The other two major petroleum projects are the $1.6 billion Angel gas and condensate field, also in the Carnarvon Basin, scheduled for completion in 2008, and the $1.1 billion Otway gas project in offshore Victoria, expected to be completed by mid-year.
Meanwhile, ABARE has also forecast that exploration expenditure in the petroleum sector will rise 5% in fiscal 2005-06 to about $1.1 billion.
“However, this is still around 4% lower than the annual average expenditure in real terms over the past 25 years – $1.15 billion,” ABARE analyst Ian Haine said in the report.
“The increase in petroleum exploration in 2005-06 is likely to have been encouraged by further significant rises in world oil prices during the year.”
Haine said other factors contributing to this increased expenditure included longer-term oil price trends, Australia’s relative prospectivity for petroleum, the prospect for Australia’s share of growing global LNG trade, the need for long-term planning, and the current skilled labour and equipment shortages.