While detailing plans for phase three of the plant recovery Santos said that it is targeting an increased daily gas production of 450 terajoules within six to eight weeks while oil volumes are also expected to return to near normal levels this weekend.
This will be a substantial increase over Stage 2 which has now taken daily Moomba production to about 170 terajoules per day (TJ /d).
The Stage 3 plan to return gas volumes to up to 450 TJ / d involves the repair of a damaged section of the plant, including a significant amount of cable and instrumentation replacement.
However, the redevelopment of the plant will come too late for a number of NSW and South Australian manufacturers who are facing multi-million dollar losses due to reduced production.
Car manufacturer Holden is currently considering delaying the start to its 2004 production run while AGL has been forced to pass on the cost of sourcing higher priced gas from the Bass Strait to its commercial consumers and has approached the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal about increasing residential rates.
Santos itself is looking at a $25 to $30 million cut to its after tax profits for the year.
Company managing director, John Ellice-Flint, said the move to Stage 3 was based on utilising the Dew Point Control operating mode (DPC) which has been previously used at Moomba for gas production.
"The DPC mode increases the plant's cooling capacity, enabling us to remove liquids from the gas stream to produce sales quality gas," Ellice-Flint said.
"While Stage 3 is being implemented, we will also continue to do whatever we can to further increase volumes under Stage 2".