Subsea installation completed as Ichthys presses on
February 21, 2017
Subsea equipment installation has been completed at the Australian field, and new contracts have been issued ahead of the final push to begin production in September
January marked a series of milestones for Australia’s Ichthys LNG megaproject, bringing the development ever closer to expected production in September this year.
Located in the Browse Basin, 220 km offshore Western Australia, the gas and condensate field is the largest liquids discovery made in the country for 40 years. It is being developed as part of a joint venture between Japanese operator Inpex and partners Total, CPC from Taiwan and the Australian subsidiaries of Tokyo Gas, Osaka Gas, Kansai Electric Power, JERA and Toho Gas.
At its peak it is anticipated to produce 8.9 million tonnes of LNG and 1.6 million tonnes of LPG per year, alongside 100,000 barrels of condensate per day.
In Inpex’s latest update, on January 13, the company announced that installation of subsea infrastructure and equipment had been completed successfully. January 12 saw the laying of the last of the 49 km of umbilicals and flying leads, as part of a subsea network covering the 400 square km of the Ichthys Field.
Inpex added that this network included a 110-metre high riser support structure, five manifolds, 139 km of flowlines, 49 km of umbilicals and flying leads, 2,640 tonnes of production and MEG spools, five subsea distribution units and a subsea distribution hub.
The network also links to the 890-km export pipeline which will carry gas and condensate to onshore facilities near Darwin. As part of a US$2 billion EPCI contract issued in 2012, this involved engineering firm McDermott developing what it claimed was the world’s largest forged body speciality valves to link with the 42-inch (1,067-mm) pipeline. McDermott senior project director Jonathan Parkes explained in 2014: “This meant that six 42-inch valves had to be specially designed and fabricated to meet the 40-year design criteria. To our knowledge, these are the world’s largest, single-piece forged, top entry ball valves.”
Each valve is around 9m in length and 7m high, and weighs more than 100 tonnes. Two were installed at water depth of 270m at the Ichthys Field, while the remainder will be set onshore at landfall and at the processing facility. With subsea installation complete, the project is now awaiting the central processing facility (CPF) and floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) facilities, which are currently being commissioned in South Korea.
Contract wins However, the completion of the subsea installation does not signal the end of new Ichthys contracts; January 13 also saw Fugro announce that it had secured an inspection, repair and maintenance (IRM) and field operations support contract for the subsea network. Meanwhile, Solstad Offshore was awarded a subcontract by McDermott covering light construction vessel services ahead of the installation and commissioning of the field’s FPSO. The Normand Reach will support engineers in FPSO hook-up, subsea activities, pre-commissioning and survey scopes during 2017, for an undisclosed sum.