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Bonaparte Basin


The Bonaparte Basin is located in coastal waters off the north coast of Australia, straddling the border between Western Australia and the Northern Territory, and is one of Australia’s most significant gas provinces.

Santos has had a long and important association with the Bonaparte Basin, with its interests including the producing Darwin LNG project, the proposed floating Bonaparte LNG project, the Barossa and Caldita gas fields, as well as exploration acreage.

Santos is a founding partner in Darwin LNG, which in 2014 will deliver its 400th cargo since production commenced in 2006. The 3.7 mtpa LNG plant, located at Wickham Point, draws its gas from the offshore Bayu-Undan gas and condensate fields, located 500 kilometres north-west of Darwin.

Along with its partners in the Darwin LNG project, Santos is exploring multiple feed gas options to backfill and expand the Darwin LNG facility, which has government environmental approval to expand the site up to 10 million tonnes per annum.

Santos is also a partner in Bonaparte LNG, a project involving the development of the offshore Petrel, Tern and Frigate fields in the Bonaparte Basin using floating LNG technology. Following Federal Government environmental approval in 2012, the Bonaparte LNG project is approaching an important milestone, with Front End Engineering and Design (FEED) entry targeted for mid-2014.

Producing assets

Bayu-Undan/ Darwin LNG
Location The Bayu-Undan gas and condensate fields are located within the Joint Petroleum Development Area, approximately 500 kilometres north-west of Darwin.
Joint venture participants Santos (11.5%), ConocoPhillips (56.94% and operator), INPEX (11.38%), Eni (10.99%), Tokyo Timor Sea Resources (9.19%)
Facility details The Bayu-Undan field includes an un-manned wellhead platform and a central production and processing complex, which contains a drilling production and processing platform and a compression, utilities and quarters platform. 13 wells have been drilled for production, gas injection and water disposal.
Once the gas is produced from the reservoir, condensate and LPG are stripped and piped to a floating storage and offloading vessel. The gas is then transported to the onshore LNG plant via a 26 inch, 500 kilometre subsea pipeline. Located at Wickham Point, the 3.7 million tonne per annum LNG plant uses ConocoPhillips’ optimised cascade LNG process technology with associated storage and marine load-out facilities.
The phase three development, with drilling commencing in 2014, will consist of two subsea production wells which will be tied-back to the existing platform facilities. These wells will deliver incremental liquids recovery and higher offshore well capacity.
Production Following the discovery of the Bayu field in 1995, condensate and LPG production commenced in April 2004. First LNG production commenced in February 2006, and is sold to Tokyo Electric and Tokyo Gas.
In 2013, Santos’ share of production was 16.7 petajoules of gas (which was sold as LNG), 967,500 barrels of condensate and 55,900 tonnes of LPG.


The Bonaparte LNG project is a joint venture between GDF SUEZ (60%) and Santos (40%) to develop a floating liquefaction project in the Timor Sea, 250 kilometres west of Darwin.

The Project aims to produce LNG using natural gas from the three remote offshore fields, Petrel, Tern and Frigate.

Following federal government environmental approval in 2012, work is underway to target FEED entry for mid-2014. A competitive Concept Definition process has been completed and each of the contractors has formed a consortium with a shipyard and submitted bids for the FEED/ Engineering, Procurement, Construction, Installation & Commissioning (EPCIC) phase.

For more on the Bonaparte LNG project, please go to  

Exploration & APPRAISAL

The discovered Barossa and Caldita fields are located approximately 270 kilometres north-west of Darwin, and are a joint venture between Santos, ConocoPhillips and SK E&S, an affiliate of South Korean conglomerate SK Group.

An agreement was reached in June 2012 to introduce a new partner into the project Barossa and Caldita, with SK E&S entering the joint venture and funding up to US$520 million in carry obligations and contingent milestone payments.

An appraisal drilling campaign will commence in 2014. This will involve the drilling of three wells, to acquire additional appraisal data from the field and to test the reservoir extent for resource upside.

Development options for these fields include tie-back to the Darwin LNG plant, either as an expansion or as back-fill, as well as floating LNG.


Permits Santos interest (%)
Bayu-Undan - JPDA 03-12, JPDA 03-13 11.5
Petrel - NT/RL 1, WA-6-R 35
Tern - WA-27-R 40
Frigate - WA-18-P, WA-40-R     40
WA-459-P     100*
Barossa - NT/RL 5 25
Caldita - NT/RL 6 25
Jabiru - AC/L 1 10.3
Challis - AC/L 2 10.3
Cassini - AC/L 3 10.3
*Operated by Santos.