NOPSEMA approves two oil field projects offshore northwest Australia

April 19, 2021
Corowa and Amulet are said to be the first oil developments to be accepted via the offshore project proposal regime.

Offshore staff

COTTESLOE, Australia – KATO Energy plans to develop two stranded oil fields on Australia’s North West Shelf.

The company received approval for its two offshore project proposals (OPPs) from the country’s National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Agency (NOPSEMA).

Corowa and Amulet are said to be the first oil developments to be accepted via the OPP regime.

KATO’s strategy is to target remote fields too small for an economic standalone development such as Corowa and Amulet, which are 335 km (208 mi) apart.

The company will apply its ‘Honeybee’ modular production system, a combination of a relocatable jackup platform, a short subsea flowline, and an FSO offloading the oil directly to export tankers. 

Xodus Group has supported the company over the past two years on obtaining the approvals. Two of the factors contributing to the process were the relatively small physical offshore footprint and the anticipated volume of emissions. 

Naomi Kerp, Principal Environmental Consultant at Xodus, said one of the goals of the environmental impact assessment was to ensure no significant impacts.

“Through this process the team was able to demonstrate acceptability of the projects under the International Energy Agency’s Sustainable Development Scenario, which is designed to achieve the Paris Agreement goal of keeping global temperature increases within 1.5°C.”

Tamarind Australia, Aviemore Capital and Wisdom Frontier Ltd. are the shareholders of KATO Energy, which was formed to combine 100% ownership of two foundation permits:

  • WA-8-L for Amulet and Talisman 
  • WA-41-R for Corowa. 

The Talisman oil field has already been produced and P&A’d, but being only 3.5 km (2.2 mi) from Amulet means it could be redeveloped concurrently.

Amulet is 132 km (82 mi) north of Dampier in northwest of Western Australia.  The initial drilling and installation phase is set to take around 10 months to complete, followed by 1.5 to 4.5 years of production and three months of decommissioning.

The production facilities will be removed and relocated to another field on completion of the project.

Corowa is 60 km (37 mi) west of Onslow in the permit area WA-41-R. Three appraisal wells have been drilled with a drillstem test performed on Corowa-1, and logging and coring for all the wells.

Corowa-1 penetrated a permeable reservoir in the Birdrong sands at a depth of around 1,500 m (4,921 ft) in the Barrow sub-basin. The field contains light oil with an API of 50: previous appraisals suggested a contingent resource of 7 MMbbl.

KATO’s Honeybee production system could be used for a development with a lifespan ranging from two to 4.5 years.