(Asia-Pacific) - Australian explorer Santos Ltd. is planning to develop the Henry gas field adjacent to Casino field in VIC/P344 concession, Otway basin, off Victoria.
Henry gas field was discovered in July 2005.
Accelerated exploration drilling activity in adjacent prospects is also planned for 2006, subject to a drilling rig being available, says.
The Santos-operated Casino project has started with the delivery of first commissioning gas to TRUenergy's Iona processing plant near Port Campbell.
Casino's full production will be achieved later this month, says Santos, which has a 12-year contract to supply up to 420 petajoules of gas to TRUenergy from the Casino field and future possible near field developments.
The Casino project is the second Santos-operated offshore resource project to begin production ahead of schedule within the past nine months.
It follows the Mutineer-Exeter oil field, which started production in April 2005, three months ahead of schedule.
The Casino gas field is the first commercial development within VIC/P44, which is located approximately 30 km offshore from Port Campbell in water depths of about 70 m.
The project's gas development and transport facilities have been specifically designed to minimize environmental and visual impact.
The gas will be transported from the subsea wellheads through a sea-floor pipeline that comes ashore via a directionally-drilled underground shore crossing for processing at the existing Iona gas plant.
Santos and its partners had drilled and completed flow-tests of two subsea wells at Casino during 2005.
"The Casino gas project, being commissioned just a little over three years after discovery, represents another world-class achievement," Santos managing director John Ellice-Flint says.
"Significantly, it provides further evidence that we have the expertise and ability in Australia to bring important resource projects successfully to completion within short cycle-times.
"The joint venture is most appreciative of the contributions of the Victorian government, various state regulators, and local and international contractors in working together to bring this project to fruition.
"It is a timely example of how corporate Australia can work with governments and other various project stakeholders, including landowners and fishing groups, to develop projects successfully, on time, and without unnecessary delays."