The Blacktip Gas Field is located in Western Australia. (Credit: C Morrison from Pixabay)
Saipem won the EPIC contract for the wellhead platform and the export pipeline system. (Credit: Saipem SpA)
The field is operated by Eni. Image Representative. (Credit: Cipiota /

Operated and owned 100% by Eni Australia, Blacktip Gas Field is located within Commonwealth waters in the Joseph Bonaparte Gulf in Australia.

The project involves extracting natural gas and liquid hydrocarbons from the field and transporting the products to an onshore gas plant located near Wadeye in the Northern Territory.

The field is estimated to contain 150 million barrels of oil equivalent in recoverable reserves. It will have a production life of 25 years.

Location Details

The Blacktip Gas Field is located in the Production Licence WA-33-L within the Western Australian-administered Commonwealth Exploration Permit WA-279-P.

Water depth in the region is approximately 50m.

The gas field’s facilities lie approximately 300km west-south-west of Darwin, the capital city of the Northern Territory.

Blacktip Gas Field Background

Blacktip field was discovered in 2001 by the Blacktip-1 well.

The project was proposed by Woodside Energy with its joint venture partner Eni Australia. Initially, it was operated by Woodside.

In 2003, Eni increased its participating interest in the project from 30% to 46.15%. The company became the 100% owner of the project in 2005.

Blacktip Development Project was approved in 2006 and the field began commercial operations in 2009.

Blacktip Development Details

The Blacktip development comprises a fixed unmanned Well-Head Platform (WHP), two production wells, flowlines, a subsea gas export pipeline of approximately 110km to deliver gas, condensate and produced water to the Yelcherr Gas Plant (YGP) near the town of Wadeye in the Northern Territory.

The pipeline system includes a 2.5km pipeline that runs below ground from the landfall to the gas plant.

The onshore gas plant has a capacity of 44 petajoules per annum (PJ/a). All gas treatment is conducted onshore.

The stabilised condensate is stored at the YGP for export to a Single Point Mooring (SPM) via a subsea export pipeline. The condensate is loaded onto tankers from SPM, located approximately 7km in commonwealth waters offshore, for transport to the market periodically.

The offshore field’s operations are primarily limited to WHP normal (unmanned) production operations, which are controlled remotely from the YGP Central Control Room (CCR). Other activities include inspection; maintenance and repair activities to topsides and subsea infrastructure; transfer of condensate using tanker vessels; and rig less well intervention activities.

Eni has plans to drill a third development well in the field using a jack-up mobile offshore drilling unit (MODU).

Key Contractors of the Blacktip Gas Field

WorleyParsons conducted the front-end engineering and design for Blacktip project, when Woodside was the operator.

Saipem won the Engineering, Procurement, Installation and Construction (EPIC) contract for the wellhead platform and the export pipeline system. The deliveries included an 18-inch 108km long export pipeline and a condensate pipeline system.

Construction engineering company Monadelphous was responsible for key works at the onshore processing facility, while Cables International supplied all the cables required for the Blacktip platform.

ICON Engineering was awarded the contract by Eni for project management, onshore trial assembly, marine transportation, offshore installation, and commissioning of the platform’s new crane for the gas field.

The crane was manufactured by bulk handling solutions provider ITALGRU.

In January 2022, Upstream Production Solutions, a wholly owned subsidiary of GR Engineering Services, secured a three-year contract to provide maintenance and operations support services for the Blacktip Gas Field and associated production infrastructure. The agreement includes an option for a two-year extension.

The services involve maintenance activities and associated support related to the project’s unmanned WHP and onshore Yelcherr Gas Plant.

Offtake Agreement

Under a gas sale agreement concluded in 2006, the Blacktip gas field delivers gas to the Northern Territory’s Power Water Corporation (PWC) to support electricity generation.

As per the 25-year agreement, the supplies started at 23PJ/a and will increase to 37PJ/a over the life of the contract.