Australia's Ichthys Pipeline Ready for Gas
The offshore and onshore sections of the Inpex-led Ichthys LNG Project’s 890 kilometer gas export pipeline were safely welded together in Darwin, Australia, on Wednesday.
Joining the two pipeline sections - 882 kilometers offshore and eight kilometers onshore - means the pipeline is now ready to deliver gas from the offshore Ichthys Field to the project’s onshore facilities at Bladin Point near Darwin for processing.
The 42-inch diameter pipeline is the longest subsea pipeline in the southern hemisphere and the third longest subsea pipeline in the world.
Building the pipeline involved multiple movements of 73,000 individual 42 inch diameter, concrete coated pipe joints, with each pipe joint weighing approximately 26 tons.
To protect workers from injuries associated with lifting, Inpex used innovative automated lifting equipment at the pipe fabrication and coating yards, and offshore installation vessels used state-of-the-art pipe joint handling systems.
At the center of the project’s offshore development is the floating central processing facility (CPF). The CPF is a column-stabilized, offshore semi-submersible production unit supporting hydrocarbon processing systems and utilities, as well as living quarters for about 200 people.
It will be the world’s largest semi-submersible platform and is being constructed in South Korea at the Samsung Heavy Industries shipyard.
Once constructed, the facility will be towed about 6,000 kilometers to the Ichthys field. It will be permanently moored near the field for the life of the Project by 28 mooring lines, representing more than 25,000 tons of anchor chain.
Natural gas and condensate from the Ichthys field's subsea wells will undergo initial processing on the CPF to extract condensate and water and remove impurities in order to make the gas suitable for transmission to Darwin.
The project’s FPSO will be used for condensate dewatering, stabilization, storage and export. The 336 meter-long ship-shaped, weather-vaning vessel is being constructed in Korea by Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering. It has been designed to hold more than one million barrels of condensate.
The Ichthys field has reserves estimates from two geological horizons of around twelve trillion cubic feet of gas and five hundred million barrels of condensate. This makes it the largest discovery of hydrocarbon liquids in Australia in more than 40 years.
When operational, the project is expected to produce 8.4 million tons of LNG and 1.6 million tons of LPG per annum, along with approximately 100,000 barrels of condensate per day at peak.