Australian Regulator Accepts Santos' Offshore Project Proposal for Dorado

 Credit: Carnarvon Energy
Credit: Carnarvon Energy

The Australian offshore oil and gas safety regulator NOPSEMA has accepted Santos' Offshore Project Proposal (OPP) relating to the Dorado project, one of the largest ever oil discoveries in Australia’s North Western Shelf.

"Acceptance of the OPP is an important progression in the regulatory approval process to support the sanctioning of the Dorado development," Carnarvon Energy, Santos' partner in the project said.

Santos is working to develop the Dorado using an FPSO and a wellhead platform.

The accepted OPP covers approval to undertake the Dorado Phase 1 liquids development, including the reinjection of gas to enhance resource recovery, as well as tie back future resources within the ‘project area’ covered by the OPP to boost Dorado production. 

This means that nearby resources, like the recently discovered Pavo field, can potentially be tied back and produced using the Dorado floating, production, storage, and offloading vessel, Carnarvon explained.

Tie-back for Pavo

Carnarvon Managing Director and CEO, Adrian Cook, said: “Following grant of a Production Licence in April 2022, the Joint Venture has progressed further important regulatory approvals necessary to support sanctioning of the Dorado development. 

"Critically, the scope of the OPP will allow for the tie-back of recent discoveries like Pavo, creating the potential for significant upside where other petroleum resources in Exploration Permits WA-437-P and WA-438-P are produced using the Dorado facilities. 

"With market volatility continuing in global energy markets, developments like Dorado are critical to ensuring forecast energy demand in the Asian region is met, and will play an important role in Australia’s long-term energy security.” 

The Dorado development is located in Production Licence WA-64-L, in which Carnarvon holds a 20% interest and Santos is the operator with 80% stake. The Pavo field is located in Exploration Permit WA-438-P, in which Carnarvon holds a 30% interest, and Santos 70%.

In June 2022, Carnarvon said the Dorado development continued to achieve significant milestones towards being ready for FID later in 2022.

But in August 2022, Carnarvon Energy said that the final investment decision for the project would not be made in 2022, due to, in part, the "current inflationary cost environment and period of supply chain uncertainties."

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