An exciting discovery that turned into an international collaboration
Total has partnered with Japan's INPEX on many projects around the world. In 2006, Total entered into its first partnership with INPEX in Australia, buying a 24% share in a permit offshore Western Australia where INPEX had discovered the Ichthys gas and condensate field. Total has since bought an additional 6% in this resource, bringing its stake to 30%. The Ichthys LNG project, as it's now known, is currently in construction and over 80% complete, with LNG production due to start in the second half of 2017. Total has been working hard with INPEX and the other joint venture participants - gas buyers Tokyo Gas, Osaka Gas, Chubu Electric Power, Kansai Electric, Toho Gas and CPC - to safely bring this project to fruition.
Construction of the LNG plant at Bladin Point near Darwin
A module is lifted onto the Floating Production Storage Offloading vessel in South Korea
The Central Processing Facility under construction at the yard in South Korea
Drilling and installation activities at the Ichthys gas and condensate field located over 200km off the northwest coast of Australia
Laying part of the 889km subsea pipeline that will take gas and some condensate from the CPF to the LNG plant at Bladin Point
Looking over the construction site at Bladin Point to storms rolling in over Darwin Harbour
Ichthys: Three Mega Projects in One
Located over 200km off the northwest of Australia, the Ichthys gas and condensate field will be developed by essentially three mega projects in one; two offshore facilities to process the gas and condensate at sea; a 889km subsea pipeline to transport gas and some of the condensate to shore; and a two-train LNG plant at Bladin Point near Darwin to further process the gas stream and prepare it for export.The offshore facilities include the Central Processing Facility (CPF), the world’s largest semi-submersible platform that will process the gas and condensate before transporting it to the LNG plant onshore, and a Floating Production Storage Offloading facility that will process, store and export condensates at sea. Both the CPF and FPSO are currently under construction in shipyards in South Korea. Once complete, they will be towed about 6,000km to the location of the Ichthys field where they will be moored to the sea floor for the life of the project. Once they are on location, they will also be connected to the subsea infrastructure that consists of a number of wells and flow lines to transport the gas and condensate from the reservoirs deep beneath the seabed to the facilities. After some initial processing at the CPF, the gas will then travel to the LNG plant onshore near Darwin via the southern hemisphere’s longest subsea pipeline. Gas will then be processed and liquefied in the LNG plant before being stored ready for export on LNG carriers.
Providing project management and technical expertise
The Joint Venture took a final investment decision on the project in January 2012, and since then the project has been under construction, with first LNG production expected in the second half of 2017. Once fully operational, the LNG plant will produce 8.9 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) of LNG and 1.6 mtpa of LPG, in addition to condensate production of around 100,000 barrels a day at peak. Long-term sales agreements are in place to sell these products, mostly direct to third-party consortiums of Taiwanese and Japanese buyers including INPEX. Total Gas & Power, the gas trading subsidiary of Total, will also purchase 0.9mtpa of LNG to supply direct to its customers. Beyond its multi-billion dollar financial commitment, Total provides project management and technical expertise to the Ichthys project team at INPEX. Some 50 Total experts are currently seconded to the project team, holding a range of senior project positions, including the role of Managing Director.
Generating economic benefits
At the peak of construction, around 30,000 people were working on the Ichthys LNG project globally, with around a quarter of these jobs located in Australia. During the construction phase, the project is expected to contribute more than $13 billion to the Australian economy, of which around $8 billion will be spent in the Northern Territory. And with the project expected to operate for around 40 years, the economic benefits will continue for decades to come.