Scaling down in Bass Strait

Decommissioning works are continuing in the Bass Strait. Photo: Contributed

ESSO Australia will soon enter the next stages of decommissioning its gas activities in the Bass Strait.

The co-operator of the Gippsland Basin Joint Venture (GBJV) is expected to announce today that it will commence a commercial tender process, which will see experienced heavy lift contractors bid to execute decommissioning activities.

As part of the bidding process, contractors will propose ways to complete the offshore removal, transportation and onshore recycling and disposal efforts, as requested by Esso.

The move comes after ExxonMobil Australia – the parent company of Esso – issued a technical tender for the project in June 2022.

“The technical tender, completed at the end of last year, was a successful process which allowed us to assess a variety of ways in which the complex task of decommissioning offshore facilities could be undertaken,” ExxonMobil Australia chair Dylan Pugh said.

“We’re excited to now move onto this next phase of decommissioning, where we will commence the commercial tender process to better understand how activities could be completed safely, whilst meeting both regulator and community expectations.

“After assessment, we will award contracts by early 2024.

“We are committed to meeting stakeholder consultation requirements as we continue to progress work efforts across multiple work fronts.”

Over the last five years, Esso has completed “almost $1 billion” worth of early decommissioning works in Bass Strait.

Its activities include the plug and abandonment of 88 wells offshore using two platform-based rigs, as well as a multi-purpose support vessel and a semi-submersible rig – set to arrive later this year.

Three subsea facilities – Seahorse, Blackback and Tarwhine – have now successfully been removed, according to Esso, while plug-and-abandonment activities have been completed on the Whiting, Kingfish B, Mackerel and Fortescue facilities.