australia total raised stake in ichthys lng project to 30 apia calls on young professionals to consider long-term stay in nt

(EnergyAsia, July 18 2012, Wednesday) — French oil and gas major Total said it has boosted its 24% stake in the Ichthys liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Australia’s Northern Territory to 30% after acquiring shares from operator and majority Japanese partner INPEX.

Total said the acquisition does not affect the project’s offtake agreements as customers have already committed to its entire annual 8.4 million tons of LNG production for 15 years.

Total itself has committed to an annual purchase of 900,000 tons of the output through its gas trading subsidiary.

The transaction remains subject to approval by the Australian authorities.

Yves-Louis Darricarrère, President of Total Exploration & Production, said:

“We are delighted to have increased our stake which demonstrates our confidence in this world class Ichthys LNG project. This further enhances our presence in Australia and our position as supplier in the Asian LNG market, the fastest growing market offering high value prices linked to oil. This move also consolidates Total’s strategy as a leading LNG player.”

Ichthys became the world’s largest LNG project in January 2012 when Total and INPEX announced they had approved the US$34 billion final investment decision.

The partners will develop approximately three billion barrels oil equivalent of hydrocarbon reserves including around 500 million barrels of condensate. Construction started on May 18 with production expected to begin by end-2016.

The project consists of the development of the Ichthys gas and condensate field in 260 metres of water depth off the coast of North West Australia and the construction of an 889-km gas transmission pipeline and an onshore 8.4-million tons/year LNG plant near Darwin city in the Northern Territory.

With Darwin in the midst of a long-term economic boom, the Australian Pipeline Industry Association has called on young professionals to consider committing their long-term careers to energy industry in the state of Northern Territory.

The state is fast emerging as a regional energy hub linking Asia with the huge resources available in northern Australia.

At an industry dinner in Darwin last week, APIA chief executive, Cheryl Cartwright, said:

“We now have a new and expanding LNG production centre across the harbour, there are emerging offshore oil and gas projects in our northern waters which will require Darwin as their base, and we have Central Australia attracting new exploration and development impetus in oil, gas, pipeline and other energy infrastructure proposals.

“Darwin offers tremendous opportunities for young people in the energy industries, particularly the gas industry, and APIA provides access to information about those opportunities through its Young Peoples Forum.

“Energy is increasingly at the centre of major political, resources, investment and infrastructure decisions in the Territory and that will create tremendous opportunities for our young professionals.

“They will help to shape milestone decisions covering not just energy project initiatives but key issues such as environmental protection and sustainable social engagement, as well as the strength, calibre and intent of business partnerships with our energy neighbours to the near north.”