BHP Billiton will exit from the Minerva gas plant in the onshore Otway Basin in the Australian state of Victoria by selling its stake of 90% to Cooper Energy, AWE and Mitsui E&P Australia for an undisclosed price.


Image: BHP Billiton will exit from the Minerva gas plant. Photo: courtesy of Suwit Ritjaroon/

The three companies have signed an agreement with BHP Billiton Petroleum (Victoria) in this connection.

Currently, Cooper Energy holds the remaining 10% stake in the plant, which has gas processing capacity of nearly 150 terajoules per day.

Post-completion of the transaction, Cooper Energy will take its ownership to 50% in the Minerva gas plant while AWE and Mitsui E&P Australia will each own a stake of 25%.

Located about 5km north-west of Port Campbell, the Minerva gas plant was put into service in January 2005. The gas plant is directly connected to the SEAGas Port Campbell to Adelaide pipeline and to the South West Pipeline, both owned by APA Group.

The new stakes in the Minerva gas plant will help the trio to secure a prime asset in the Otway Basin where they are partners in the Casino Henry gas project. Cooper Energy is the operator of the offshore Casino Henry gas project with a stake of 50% while AWE and Mitsui E&P Australia own 25% each.

Cooper Energy managing director David Maxwell said: “The Minerva Gas Plant is one of 3 gas processing plants located onshore Victoria that are currently processing gas from the offshore Otway Basin.

“Our analysis indicates the plant can offer a highly competitive processing option for gas from Casino Henry and other gas fields in the region. Ownership of the plant has clear strategic merit and can significantly further enhance the economics of Otway Basin gas development and production.”

The deal will not affect ownership of the offshore Minerva gas field and offshore gas pipeline, which is owned 90% by BHP and 10% by Cooper Energy.

Cooper Energy said that the Casino Henry partners have advanced preliminary engineering design work for processing gas at the Minerva gas plant. This would need a 0.25km pipeline tie-in to be constructed along with modification of well control systems to link to the Casino Henry project.