Ichthys in for the long haul

09 June, 2017

After a journey of more than 5600km the Ichthys Explorer – the world’s largest semisubmersible platform – arrived in the Browse Basin on 29 May, where it will be moored for the next 40 years.

INPEX General Manager, External Affairs and Joint Venture, Bill Townsend says construction of the Ichthys LNG project, which includes massive offshore and onshore facilities and an 890km subsea pipeline to connect them, is now more than 90 per cent complete.

He will give a full rundown of this fascinating mega-project at the CCI Resource and Construction Conference 2017 on June 29.

The Ichthys Explorer, the project’s 120,000-tonne Central Processing Facility (CPF) with living quarters for 200 people, will be joined in the field by a Floating Production Storage and Offloading facility, the 336m-long Ichthys Venturer. 

“Once these massive offshore facilities arrive in the Ichthys Field, installation, hook-up and commissioning, known as IHUC, commences,” Townsend says.  

“This will be a highly coordinated logistical exercise, involving up to 2000 personnel offshore (including drilling); two ‘floatels’ (floating hotels); up to 20 installation marine vessels; and up to eight helicopters.” 

Townsend says much of the IHUC activity will be supported from Broome, where the Ichthys Project is the biggest user of the town’s heliport and port. 

The project’s 890-km 42-inch gas export pipeline has been installed and “inerted”, or made chemically inactive. “It is the longest subsea pipeline in the southern hemisphere and third longest in the world.”   

Townsend says drilling of development wells in the Ichthys Field has progressed to the point where there are now enough wells drilled to support first production. 

In January, the project successfully completed the installation of the complex network of subsea infrastructure and equipment to safely and efficiently extract gas and condensate from the field.

In all, 133,000 tonnes of equipment were installed, including: 

• a 110-metre high riser support structure 

• five manifolds  

• 139 kilometres of flowlines  

• 49 kilometres of umbilicals and flying leads 

• 2640 tonnes of production and MEG spools  

• five subsea distribution units, and 

• a subsea distribution hub. 

The Ichthys LNG Project’s onshore facilities are being constructed at Bladin Point, near Darwin, with almost 8000 workers on site daily.

Onshore facilities are being handed over from the construction teams to the operations teams, portion by portion.  

While INPEX is headquartered in Tokyo, it’s 1500-person Perth office makes it the company’s largest.   

“Australia represents a core region for INPEX and we would like to grow our business here,” Townsend says. 

“We have a significant exploration portfolio in Australia and room in Darwin for up to four additional LNG processing trains. INPEX holds interests in 12 exploration blocks in the Browse Basin, of which we operate six.  We also are pursuing an onshore opportunity in the Northern Territory.   

“During the construction phase alone, the Ichthys Project has contributed significantly to the WA and Australian economies.  This includes generating thousands of jobs and contributing more than $16.5 billion into the Australian economy including $6bn in WA.”

 CBUS and APEMobile are sponsors of the event.

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