Australian offshore oil and gas safety regulator NOPSEMA has approved Woodside's offshore project proposal (OPP) from for the development of the Scarborough gas fields off northern Western Australia.
The OPP is the primary Commonwealth environmental assessment document for the Scarborough project in Commonwealth waters and forms the basis for future activity-specific Environment Plans, which must also be assessed and approved by NOPSEMA.
The approval comes after an assessment that took more than a year, with the assessment period including an eight-week public comment process.
According to NOPSEMA, Woodside has proposed to start developing the Scarborough gas fields in 2023, following the drilling of wells, installation of pipeline and semi-submersible floating production unit.
As reported last week, Woodside last week announced it would delay final investment decisions on some of its major projects in Australia, including the $11 billion Scarborough development, due to the uncertain global investment environment. The company had planned to sanction the project in 2020, but this has now been pushed to 2021.
Following NOPSEMA's offshore project proposal acceptance, Woodside CEO Peter Coleman said: "Although we are now facing challenging market conditions due to the impact of COVID-19 and volatile oil prices, Scarborough is a world-class resource that we plan to develop at a globally competitive cost through our proposed Burrup Hub."
"Woodside is continuing work to ensure we have all the necessary regulatory approvals and commercial agreements in place to ensure a final investment decision can be taken for Scarborough in 2021,” he said.
The Scarborough field contains an estimated contingent resource (2C) dry gas volume of 11.1 Tcf (100%; 8.2 Tcf Woodside share, calculated using deterministic and probabilistic methods). The field is held 73.5% by Woodside and 26.5% by BHP.