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Italian oil and gas firm Eni buys out Shell’s stake in Evans Shoal gas field

THE Italian oil and gas firm that operates the Blacktip gas project, which supplies gas for Territory domestic power generation, has taken another significant step forward in its growth plans off Northern Australia.

ENI has bought out Shell’s stake in the large undeveloped Evans Shoal gas field 300km northwest of Darwin in the Timor Sea’s Bonaparte Basin.

The Blacktip gas field is 110km off our coast and pumps gas to ENI’s Yelcherr Gas Plant near Wadeye.

Evans Shoal is among five offshore gas ventures contributing to a $625,000 study being carried out into the feasibility of expanding the Darwin LNG plant. The study started in April and is due for completion this month.

Adding a second production unit at the Conoco Phillips-owned project could unlock several undeveloped gas fields off the north coast.

Eni has acquired the whole 32.5 per cent operating interest from Anglo-Dutch major Shell, and is now operator of the Retention Lease NT/RL7.

The company is upbeat about the acquisition, estimating the resource base of the field has at least 227 billion cubic metres of gas in place.

Neither Shell nor Eni disclosed the deal’s price.

The new Evans Shoal and NT/RL7 equity stakes are now Eni 65 per cent as operator, Malaysian state Petronas 25 per cent and Japan’s Osaka Gas 10 per cent.

The transaction has already been approved by the joint venture and the Federal Government.

Eni described the deal as advancing Eni’s Asia-Pacific upstream growth plans, following its May start-up of Indonesia’s Jangkrik field, which supplies gas to the Bontang LNG plant. Eni bought its original 32.5 per cent stake in Evans Shoal from Australian independent Santos in late 2011 for $350 million.

Eni has been in Australia and the NT since 2000.

As well as being the operator of the Blacktip gas project, Eni has a non-operated interest in the Bayu-Undan gas and condensate field and in the associated Conoco Darwin LNG plant. Eni also has interests in 14 offshore exploration and production licences in Australia, East Timor and jointly administered waters.


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