Exxon, BHP plan world's biggest floating gas-export plant
BY ROSS KELLY
SYDNEY -- ExxonMobil and BHP Billiton laid out plans to develop a huge natural gas field off the coast of Australia that would use the world's largest vessel capable of processing the gas at sea.
The vessel would tap into the company's remote Scarborough gas field, located in the Carnarvon Basin about 300 km from the Western Australia coast, and use floating liquefied natural gas technology.
The technology, known as FLNG, is untried but has captured the attention of some of the world's biggest energy companies seeking to develop gas fields that are too small or remote to develop using pipelines and onshore facilities. Shell is a leading proponent of FLNG vessels, which it plans to deploy in Australia and possibly elsewhere.
Exxon and BHP's proposed facility would be capable of producing between 6 MMmt and 7 MMmt of LNG a year. Production would begin in 2020-21, the companies said in a filing posted on the website of Australia's environment department.
In 2011, Shell committed to use a FLNG vessel to process natural gas from its Prelude field offshore northwestern Australia. The vessel, equivalent in size to five soccer pitches, is due to begin producing 3.6 MMmt of LNG each year from 2017.
Dow Jones Newswires