Australian offshore oil and gas safety regulator NOPSEMA has accepted Shell's offshore project proposal for the development of the Crux gas field in the Browse Basin, off the north coast of Western Australia.
Consisting of a normally unmanned platform and five production wells, the proposed Crux development would connect to the Prelude Floating Liquefied Natural Gas (FLNG) facility via a 165km export pipeline.
NOPSEMA said Tuesday it had accepted the plan after "a thorough and careful assessment process of almost two years."
"In line with statutory timeframes, this has included a public comment process and consideration of all feedback," NOPSEMA said.
The Crux development is subject to further regulatory approvals prior to proceeding, including an accepted environment plan, a well operations management plan and facility safety case. All required regulatory approvals must be in place before activity can begin, the regulator added.
"A statement of reasons and final OPP [Offshore Project Proposal] document will be published by NOPSEMA within 10 days of the acceptance decision, in accordance with the regulatory requirements," it said.
Back in April 2020, Shell told Reuters that it would delay a final investment decision (FID) on the Crux gas project, "due to the global economic downturn, including the sharp drop in oil price, declining markets and uncertainties with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic." The FID was initially planned for 2020.
While it is not clear when the FID is expected to be made, from FID it will take about four to five years for the Crux platform to be fully designed, constructed off-site, and towed to location.
During the platform construction, the subsea production wells would be drilled and suspended until the installation of the platform facilities, after which the wells would be completed, hooked-up to the platform, and brought online.