23 Mar 2018

Orbost Gas Processing Facility Upgrade and Sole Gas Project to deliver much needed East Coast gas from mid-2019


APA Group (APA) Group Executive Kevin Lester and Cooper Energy General Manager Andrew Thomas today welcomed The Hon Lily D’Ambrosio MP, Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change for a site visit of the Orbost Gas Processing Facility.

The Orbost Gas Processing Facility was acquired from Cooper Energy by APA in November 2017 and is undergoing a significant upgrade by APA to service gas from Cooper Energy’s 100% owned Sole gas field that is currently being developed as part of the $605 million Sole gas project being undertaken by the two companies.

At a time when there have been calls for increased gas supply into the south east Australian domestic gas market to help ease prices, two Australian companies have shown the initiative to work together to develop new gas supplies into Victoria that will benefit households and business.

The $605 million project includes onshore works of $250 million to be undertaken by APA at the Orbost facility and $355 million of works to be undertaken offshore by Cooper Energy. The Sole gas field will connect to the Orbost processing facility by a sub-sea pipeline and control umbilical to be constructed by Cooper Energy.

APA is already well advanced with the upgrade work and Cooper Energy is well advanced with the offshore work and is preparing to drill and complete the two production wells. The project will deliver much needed new gas supplies to the domestic market from mid-2019.

Minister D’Ambrosio congratulated the two companies for working together to deliver the Sole gas project, establishing new infrastructure and bringing more gas to Victoria. “This major project by APA and Cooper Energy will create more than 800 direct jobs during construction with many more in associated services, ultimately bringing more gas into Victoria for use by households and businesses,” Minister D’Ambrosio said.

Kevin Lester, APA’s Group Executive Infrastructure Development said, “APA has actively been working with its customers and new gas producers to connect more gas sources to markets in order to put downward pressure on gas prices. We’re very pleased to be working with Cooper Energy to develop this new resource that will benefit the tight east coast gas market. By using our skills and experience in building, owning and operating gas processing infrastructure, and through Cooper Energy applying their skills in offshore subsea technology, the team is delivering new domestic gas supplies into Victoria.”

When the Orbost facility upgrade is complete, up to 70TJ per day of gas will be available to the east coast gas market from Cooper Energy’s Sole gas field. There is also scope within the agreements for the Orbost plant to process gas from Cooper Energy’s nearby Manta gas field and third party gas from the region.

Andrew Thomas, Cooper Energy’s General Manager Exploration and Subsurface, said that APA Group’s commitment to the Orbost Gas Processing Facility was a critical factor in Cooper Energy’s decision to commit to the development of the Sole gas field. “APA’s willingness to back the project by investing in, and operating the Orbost plant, was important in the go-ahead for the Sole Gas Project. We are delighted to have APA involved as our partner in bringing this new gas supply to market, and hopefully in the longer term, from other Gippsland gas fields,” he said.

Cooper Energy also owns an existing pipeline connection to the Longtom gas field which, subject to agreements being reached with the owners of Longtom and the associated infrastructure, the Orbost plant and requisite regulatory approvals, can also deliver gas for processing through Orbost.