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Santos announces plans to increase Moomba gas supplies

Santos Limited today announced plans for a further significant increase in gas supplies from the Moomba Plant following last weeks fire.

The Company said that it is targeting to increase daily gas production to 450 terajoules within six to eight weeks under Stage 3 of the strategy to return gas supply at the Moomba Plant.

Oil volumes are also expected to return to near normal levels this weekend.

The higher targeted gas volumes are expected to enable the Moomba Plant to meet its typical expected gas demand.

This will be a substantial increase over Stage 2 which has now taken daily Moomba production to about 170 terajoules per day (TJ /d) (over 40 per cent of typical demand).

The Stage 3 plan to return gas volumes to up to 450 TJ / d involves the repair of a damaged section of the plant, including a significant amount of cable and instrumentation replacement.

Santos Managing Director, Mr John Ellice-Flint, said the move to Stage 3 was based on utilising the Dew Point Control operating mode (DPC) which has been previously used at Moomba for gas production.

“The DPC mode increases the plants cooling capacity, enabling us to remove liquids from the gas stream to produce sales quality gas, Mr Ellice-Flint said.

“It is a positive step forward in our efforts to get back to normal gas supplies after the unforseen 1 January incident,” he said.

“While the DPC plan is being progressed, we are also reconfiguring the plant, involving the installation of additional pipe work and the increased use of silica gel in processing sales gas to underpin production.

“While Stage 3 is being implemented, we will also continue to do whatever we can to further increase volumes under Stage 2.”

Field development work in the Cooper Basin is continuing and the Company is also accelerating plans for possible additional development wells.

Exploration activity in the Cooper Basin continues as normal.

Expanded workforce

Mr Ellice-Flint said a fall in ambient temperatures in the past 24-hours from the high 40 degrees Celsius to the high 30s, and a cooler outlook over coming days, had improved on-site conditions for personnel and would enhance the Companys ability to deliver gas.

Current operations on site include:

  • Air freighting a 35-tonne consignment of silica gel from the US;
  • Increasing on-site personnel by about 100 to 550 to ensure maximum resources for the incident investigation, repair, reconfiguration, in-field delivery and gas retrieval from storage operations;
  • Mobilising international technical experts;
  • Commissioning extra camp facilities to house the expanded workforce: and
  • The arrival on site of 3 kilometres of cabling to accelerate repair work.

Stage 4

“There will also be a further Stage 4 beyond the current plan, but this is yet to be fully scoped,” Mr Ellice-Flint said.

“Stage 4 will see the reinstatement of damaged plant and the return of natural gas liquids production, he said.

“While all stages in the restoration of gas supplies are being performed as quickly as possible, no action will be undertaken which compromises the safety of personnel on site.”

Oil production returning to normal

Mr Ellice-Flint also said Santos oil production from the Cooper Basin was expected to return to around 90 per cent of normal production this weekend.

Planned gross Cooper Basin oil production for January was around 14,500 barrels per day prior to last weeks fire but had dropped to around 70 per cent of average daily production for this time of the year.

Stakeholder support

“The dedication of Santos employees to restore supplies has been exceptional,” Mr Ellice-Flint said.

“We also appreciate the ongoing co-operation shown by stakeholders, including customers, joint venture partners, Government agencies, pipeline operators, unions and contractor companies, with whom we continue to work closely.