BHP Billiton has approved the increase of capital expenditure for the Esso Australia-operated Kipper and Turrum projects in the Gippsland Basin, offshore Victoria, Australia.

Kipper’s capital expenditure has been raised to $900m and its facilities are now expected to be completed in 2012.

Turrum’s expenditure has been increased to $1350m and is expected to begin production in 2013.

The Kipper field has resources of about 620 billion ft3 of recoverable gas and 30mn barrels of oil and gas liquids.

Turrum is expected to recover about one trillion ft3 of natural gas and 110 million barrels of oil and gas liquids.

Esso Australia holds a 32.5% share in the Kipper Unit Joint Venture, while BHP Billiton holds a 32.5% stake and Santos owns the remaining 35% share.

Turrum is part of the Gippsland Basin Joint Venture, where Esso Australia and BHP Billiton each hold a 50% stake.